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Artistic Transformation within the Ballet: Loïe Fuller and George Balanchine. A PowerPoint Presentation Created by Karen Barako and Rebecca Corley. Flow of the Lecture:. Intro to Key Terms & video clips (6 mins.) Background to Fuller and Balanchine (5 mins.)

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Artistic Transformation within the Ballet: Loïe Fuller and George Balanchine

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artistic transformation within the ballet lo e fuller and george balanchine

Artistic Transformation within the Ballet: Loïe Fuller and George Balanchine

A PowerPoint Presentation Created by

Karen Barako and Rebecca Corley

flow of the lecture
Flow of the Lecture:
  • Intro to Key Terms & video clips (6 mins.)
  • Background to Fuller and Balanchine

(5 mins.)

  • Historical Influences (4 mins.)
  • Discussion Questions and review of articles (15 mins.)
  • To explore the development of the history of ballet in reference to the change from formalism to modernism.
  • To highlight key figures within and surrounding this movement.
  • To make connections within our larger scheme of course study.
relevant terms
Relevant Terms
  • Formalism: a method of aesthetic analysis that emphasizes structural elements and artistic techniques
  • Modernism: a deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression…

--“demands…exclusion of every element that might veil, or mute, or distract from the conditions of the revelation”

lo e fuller 1862 1928
Loïe Fuller (1862-1928)
  • Born Marie Louise Fuller on January 15, 1862, in Fullersburg (now part of Hinsdale), Illinois
  • Known for her inventive costuming and revolutionary lighting
fuller 2
Fuller (2)
  • made her stage debut in Chicago at the age of four
  • toured with stock companies, burlesque shows, vaudeville, and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, gave temperance lectures and Shakespearean readings, and appeared in a variety of plays in Chicago and New York City
  • began experimenting with varying lengths of silk and different colored lighting and gradually evolved her "Serpentine Dance," which she first presented in New York in February 1892
fuller 3
Fuller (3)
  • traveled to Europe in 1892 and in October opened at the Folies Bergère in her "Fire Dance," in which she danced on glass illuminated from below
  • quickly became the toast of avant-garde Paris
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Rodin, and Jules Chéret used her as a subject, several writers dedicated works to her, and daring society women sought her out
  • later experiments in stage lighting, a field in which her influence was deeper and more lasting than in choreography, included the use of phosphorescent materials and silhouette techniques
george balanchine 1904 1983
George Balanchine (1904-1983)
  • born Georgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze on January 22,1904 in the village of Banodzha in western Georgia
  • known as one of the foremost choreographers in the history of ballet
balanchine 2
Balanchine (2)
  • trained at the Imperial Ballet Academy and studied composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory
  • early works for the 1922 series Evenings of Young Ballet were criticized as too avant-garde
  • joined the Diaghilev Company in 1925 (Paris) as a choreographer
  • after Serge Diaghilevdied in 1929, Balanchine choreographed for several companies, and gained notoriety
balanchine 3
Balanchine (3)
  • moved to New York City in 1934 and founded the School of American Ballet with American ballet patron Lincoln Kirstein
  • founded the American Ballet Company in 1935
  • Some works include: Ziegfeld Follies: 1936 Edition, Serenata: ‘Magic’, Concerto, On Your Toes, The Bartered Bride, The Bat, Orpheus and Eurydice, Samson et Dalila, Le Coq d’Or, Caponsacchi, La Gioconda, Babes in Arms, Apollon Musagete, Roméo et Juliette, The Boys from Syracuse
“Ballet... should not be an illustrator of even...the most substantive of literary sources. It will speak for itself. The ballet is flowers, beauty, poetry...I am, if you please, an advocate of pure art.” Balanchine's most intense desire was “to make audiences see music and hear dancing.”
other important figures
Other Important Figures:
  • Marius Petipa (1822-1910)
  • Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898)
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945)
  • Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929)
marius petipa 1822 1910
Marius Petipa (1822-1910)
  • French dancer/choreographer
  • Principle creator of modern classical ballet—brought French/Italian tradition to Russia
  • Stressed pure dance (vs. pantomime) and expanded the role of the male
  • Major works: Don Quixote, The SleepingBeauty, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake
auguste rodin 1840 1917
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • French sculptor
  • Began art at age 14, was an ornament maker, and architectural sculptor
  • 1877—became famous with Age of Bronze (nude male figure), was given a studio by the government and taken under the patronage of Turquet
  • His work was considered the most important contribution to sculpture during his century and was highly influenced by dance and romantic poetry.
st phane mallarm 1842 1898
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898)
  • Symbolist poet—wrote from early age and was influenced by Baudelaire
  • Taught English from 1864-93 in Paris and surrounding areas
  • Communicated his ideas on poetry and art—his theory: “nothing lies beyond reality, but within this nothingness lies the essence of perfect forms, and it is the task of the poet to reveal and crystallize those essences”
mallarm 2
Mallarmé (2)
  • Mallarmé on Fuller’s performance at the Folies-Bergére: “Her performance, sui generis, is at once an artistic intoxication and an industrial achievement…She blends with the rapidly changing colours which vary their limelit phantasmagoria of twilight and grotto, their rapid emotional changes—delight, mourning, anger; and to set these off, prismatic, either violent or dilute as they are, there must be a dizziness of soul made visible by artiface” (155).
henri de toulouse lautrec 1864 1901
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
  • Born to aristocrats in Southern France
  • Crippled at the age of 12 and his legs stopped growing…rather than follow his father hunting and fishing, he instead focused on sketching and painting
  • Was seduced by alcohol; led a bohemian lifestyle
  • Joined the fad of integrating Japanese art (asymmetric composition and flat areas of color) with French art, and also led the movement of “picture posters”
  • 1899 entered detox clinic; two years later died at age of 37

“…the female body was ‘Earth’s most eloquent Music, divinest human harmony” (150)

Henri de Toulouse-LautrecMiss Loïe Fuller, 1893

paul val ry 1871 1945
Paul Valéry (1871-1945)
  • French writer famous for poem “The Young Fate”
  • Disciple of Mallarmé; influenced by Symbolist movement
  • Disinterested in aesthetics and passion of man; and “Idol of Intellect” where reason was separate from emotion
  • Obsessed with science—renounced poetry but returned to it as a writer and critic in 1912
  • “Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking”(156).
serge diaghilev 1872 1929
Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929)
  • Russian dancer and choreographer, the manager of the Ballets Russes that created a sensation in Western Europe in the early years of the 20th century. Balanchine was a member of his company and gained notoriety through his work under Diaghilev.

(Sets for Petrouchka

by Alexandre Benois)

diaghilev 2
Diaghilev (2)
  • Choreographies noted for their different and exotic appeal.
  • Important works include: Les Sylphides (1909), The Firebird (1910), Spectre de la Rose (1911), Petroushka (1911), Afternoon of A Faun (1912), The Rite of Spring (1913), The Song of the Nightingale (1920), Apollo (1928), and Prodigal Son (1929), many of which are still performed.
  • His composers included Debussy, Milhaud, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Ravel, Satie, and, most notably, Igor Stravinsky.
review question
Review Question
  • How did the Parisian music-halls illustrate the idea of class within the changing ideology of dance? Of race?
  • Parisian music halls were important to the concept of class because they were considered, along with “fine clothes, Japanese prints, neurasthenia,” to be pleasures of the elite.
  • “There is important in the early history of modern art as folk-music in primitive painting, with which indeed they are obviously associated” (150).
  • Elements of race fluctuated throughout the movement, with the more exotic theatrical dance (Eastern cultures) influential within the Parisian music halls. There was a “…fashionable admiration for oriental art and theatre , in avante-garde agitation for theatrical reform” (145). Yet, in more formalistic dances, Western influence predominated.
discussion question
Discussion Question
  • Was the role of the spectator more important in the work of Fuller or the ballets of Balanchine?
possible answer
Possible Answer
  • Because Fuller engaged in more theatrical dance productions, the role of the spectator was key to the aesthetic she sought to reach. Balanchine, on the other hand, was more concerned with the modernist perspective of “dance as dance.” The purpose of his dance was not to focus on the relationship between the artist and the spectator, but rather body in motion as it relates to expressivity and captures “the essence of grace.”
review question26
Review Question
  • What were the differences in costuming and lighting between Balanchine and Fuller’s work?
  • Fuller: Costuming was marked by use of various fabrics including silks of different lengths and colors. Lighting was experimental; for example: “The Danse de Feu was lit from below stage, by a red lantern directed through a glassed-in trap. The effect was striking” (152).
  • Balanchine: Costuming was less flagrant as Balanchine “under[stood] the perils of color” and opted for subtlety on stage. By rarely using color in the stage décor and costumes, he did not have to “sacrifice the grace of opticality for the charming diversions of mere ‘theatre’” (139).
review question28
Review Question
  • What was the progression of the traditional arts into a modernist aesthetic?
  • Progression through 4 stages:

1) Painterly aesthetic concerning the

“faithful representation of the human


2) “An aesthetic which subordinated the

demand for exact representation to the

demand for a sensuous yet still lucid figuration”

3) “An aesthetic which kept figuration, but

distorted and perplexed it and rendered it entirely

abstract”…this allowed expressiveness of the art

to become a function of the sensuous properties

of the abstract structure rather than a symbol

4) An aesthetic concerning complete annihilation (suppression) of “all figurative tendencies”
  • “…an aesthetic of immanence (…of self-revealing presence) has come to replace the earlier aesthetic of mimetic connotation and transcendence symbolism…[T]he modernist aesthetic challenges the work of art to reveal, to make present its defining condition as art.”
  • “Form” and “content” in modernist work are the same thing.
discussion question31
Discussion Question
  • How do you think this progression relates to Balanchine’s work?
possible answer32
Possible Answer
  • While Balanchine never ignored the formalist ideas (he produced some “theatrical” ballets such as La Valse) his work tended towards the modernist aesthetic.
concluding questions
Concluding Questions:
  • Explain the term “modernist formalism.”
  • How does it contradict theatricality?
possible answers
Possible Answers
  • The term refers to the fact that formalism is a direct consequence of modernism as a chosen aesthetic. Formal aspects of dance are incorporated into modern movements.
  • “…the imperative defeat or suspension of objecthood entails that modernist art defeat or suspend its possible ‘theatricality’” (128).