Dance with Petrushka: The Ballets Russes, Russia, and Modernity

Mengyang Wu
2019 Open Journal of Social Sciences  
This paper utilizes the historical-comparative research method and the literature research method to carefully examine Petrushka, one of the most highly influential ballets during the 20 th century. By analyzing the expression of the ballet, the literature infusion and reconstruction, modernism tendencies in music, tableau design, and aesthetic shifts based on historical cultural changes, the socioeconomic influences on art creation will further illustrate how the experience of art can reflect
more » ... of art can reflect the changes due to modernity from a unique perspective. Therefore, the argument presented here is that modernity in Russia has not only been associated with a view of history centered on Europe or the West, but it is also related to transformations due to modernity in economies and geopolitics worldwide, which has caused multiple infusions, conflicts, and collisions in culture. .78007 82 Open Journal of Social Sciences neoprimitivism, the pre-Romantic artistic heritage of Latinity, and the world marketplace on modern ballet [1]. Hanna Järvinen, meanwhile, discussed the Russian invasion from historical and geographical perspectives and analyzed the presence of primitivism, realism, barbarism, and modernism in repertories [2]. In addition, Stanley J. Rabinowitz published an article called "From the Other Shore: Russian Comment on Diaghilev's Ballets Russes." Another article by Järvinen, titled "The Russian Barnum': Russian Opinions on Diaghilev's Ballets Russes," collects, synthesizes, and analyzes commentary by various Russian and Western European critics on Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes [3] [4]. Regarding aesthetic aspects, Annabel Rutherford and Frank Kermode have examined the influence of literature on Diaghilev's work [5] [6]. Charles S. Mayer, meanwhile, investigated design inspirations from Leon Bakst and Mir Iskusstva [7]. Diaghilev's relationship to modernity has been studied in terms of various aspects, including choreography, tableau, costume, fashion, cosmopolitanism, and nationalism, among others. Few studies, however, have focused on a specific work, with almost no research taking Petrushka as a starting point. The present study, therefore, takes Petrushka-an influential and representative work of 20 th century ballet-as a point of entry to analyze cultural integration and conflict during the transformation period of Russian modernity in terms of the changes observed in dance works of the time. This article extends the literature on ballet analysis and cultural studies in various ways. First, it provides an in-depth supplement to prior discussions of modernity in Diaghilev and his ballet company. Furthermore, the analysis of Petrushka reveals changes in existing dance forms, the meanings of the works, and historical and cultural backgrounds, as well as the deeper philosophical, economic, and social aspects of modernity that influenced the understanding of beauty. By revealing the aspects of judgment and doubt in the dance works that knowledge alone cannot provide, this study broadens the field for analyzing both Russian modernity and specific dance works from an ontological perspective.
doi:10.4236/jss.2019.78007 fatcat:pm6fqxw65fggncxxbtqwuz25cm