Dancing Genius: The Stardom of Vaslav Nijinsky

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By Hanna Jarvinen

Dancing Genius is the first book-length critical study on Vaslav Nijinsky as a star dancer of the Ballets Russes company. Through looking into definitions of virtuosity, stardom and genius, Hanna Jarvinen contrasts contemporary materials from Russia, France, England and the United States with later, hegemonic interpretations. Nijinsky emerges as a celebrity figure whose dancing was attributed with genius in order to raise the prestige of the art form, but a figure also attributed with ‘racial’ characteristics in a thoroughly Orientalist manner.

Tracing the historical figure in contemporary documents and later reminiscences, the book opens up questions about authorship in dance, about critical evaluation of performance practice, and the manner in which past events are turned into history.

See preview pages on Google Books. (You may also like to click here to read Hanna Jarvinen’s paper, ‘Fans, Fawns and Fauns: Ballet Stardom, Dancing Genius and the Queer Afterlife of Vaslav Nijinsky’.)

Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Hardcover, 344 pages.
ISBN-13: 978-1137407726

 

Contents

Introduction: A Genealogy
PART I: THE RUSSIAN INVASION
1. An Audience for Ballet
2. Orientalism
PART II: THE SILENT BODY OF A GENIUS
3. The Unique Genius
4. Male Beauty
5. Corporeality
6. The Mad Genius
PART III: A RUSSIAN BALLET?
7. The Old and the New Ballet
8. Revolutionary Exiles
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index