Who is the god of dance

God of dance

About approaching the Nijinsky myth. A new book by the Franco-German author Petra van Cronenburg. Read by Andreas Brunner It's actually amazing that it's about thatGod of dance, as Vaslav Nijinsky was called during his lifetime, only gives one German-language book. Neither the biography of his wife Romola nor his diaries are available, apparently no longer a business for the renowned Suhrkamp Verlag. Besides his genius as a dancer, Nijinsky is a key figure of modernity, as Petra van Cronenburg explains in her wonderfully legible approach to his myth.

The fascination of Nijinsky consists of three different parts. The first and most extensive one tells the biography of Nijinsky, the last two are conversations with the choreographer Ralf Rossa and the art historian and curator Michael Braunsteiner. If you have a picture of Nijinsky in your head today, it is that of a well-trained young dancer in a skin-tight leotard with black spots, who poses in a grotesque-looking posture - Nijinsky as a faun from his groundbreaking first ballet choreographyL’après-midi d’un faune (afternoon of a faun). But up to this image that we have of him today, it will be a hard road for Nijinsky. Having gone through the tough school of the St. Petersburg Dance Academy, Nijinsky impressed early on with his extraordinary jumping ability and dogged endurance. For the shy dancer plagued by inferiority complexes, the encounter and relationship with the openly homosexual impresario Sergei Diaghilew marked the decisive turning point in his life. Diaghilew made Nijinsky his own as a dancerBallets Russes in a few years to a world star. TheGod of dancethe world was at your feet. But he wanted more, above all not the world at his feet, but dance as an expression of life, of desire, dance as a new language. Nijinsky, reserved but open, used the intellectual environment that Diaghilev offered him in his salonstout l’Europe went in and out. In Petra van Cronenburg you can read how Nijinsky practically absorbed the latest developments in the avant-garde in Europe. He moved in a seething creative milieu that drove the manically obsessed with dance to develop his ideas. And Diaghilew should give his star the chance to implement his own ideas. Nijinsky choreographed his to the music of Claude DebussyAfternoon of a Faun, which was to cause a veritable theatrical scandal and at the same time write theater history. Petra van Cronenburg describes the course of this evening in detail based on original sources and also manages to make a dance layman understand why Nijinsky's Faun was tantamount to a reinvention of ballet, as Nijinsky managed to do, an art form that was deeply rooted in the historical stench of the 19th century beaming the modern. Full of sexual innuendos - there must have been witnesses who saw that Nijinsky even masturbated at the premiere - Nijinsky developed a completely new dance language, artificial, physical, but also using the body as an abstract part of a total work of art.

Petra van Cornenburg describes Nijinsky's short artistic life as a constant search for new means of expression, how his dance language, influenced by modern art, increasingly approached abstraction. This search was repeatedly marked by crises, but it came to a serious breakdown after Diaghilev's break with his star, after he married the Hungarian dancer Romola de Pulszky on a tour of Brazil. With this, Nijinsky was excluded from Diaghilew's creative environment, left to his own devices and at the mercy of the possessive Romola. After a two-year internment in a Hungarian captivity, a conciliatory Diaghilev brought him on a tour to the USA, where Nijinsky met Charlie Chaplin, who was deeply impressed by the dancer's body language. But the psychological problems also increased. Nijinsky withdrew more and more, going from a case for the art world to one for psychiatry. Petra van Cronenburg also traces this path in an exciting way, not without referring to the drastic methods of psychiatry of the time, which from today's perspective probably caused more damage than healing. But Romola's role in the time of his psychiatry is also clear. But what makes Petra van Cronenburg's biographical approach to the Nijinsky myth special is that she does not stop at the artistic biography of the dancer. Already written off by many into "mental derangement", Nijinsky created an abundance of drawings in an almost manically creative push that can be read as a continuation of his dance path into abstraction and as the last artistic expression before falling silent, his diaries, which are not only personal document but also a literary testimony. It's a pity thatThe fascination of Nijinsky is illustrated with numerous role models from Nijinsky’s ballets, but none of his pictures can be seen. After a conversation with the choreographer Ralf Rossa about the question of what still fascinates dancers about Nijinsky today, Petra van Cronenburg and Michael Braunsteiner turn to an exciting discourse on art / genius and madness, in which the art historian parallels between Nijinsky and Kind of Brut pulls. It is to the merit of this narrow bond thatGod of dance in connection with the art of the early 20th century and to ask central questions that the avant-garde was negotiating around the First World War.

A QWIEN reading tip, not just for ballet fans:Petra van Cronenburg: The fascination of Nijinsky. Approaching a Myth. Edition Octopus. ISBN: 9783869913629 The internet makes it possible: on the exhibition websiteNijinsky's eye and abstraction“(2009) you can see some pictures by Nijinsky.

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