FEBRUARY 15, 2019

10am Hawaii – 12pm PST – 1pm MST – 2pm CST – 3pm EST

Duration: 15 mins 

Presented by Bailey Aguilar, Bryn Mawr College


The introduction of ballet in Russia occurred nearly four centuries ago, during the time of the Tsars. By the middle of the 19th century, ballet’s popularity had decreased significantly in Paris and throughout the rest of Europe, giving Russia the opportunity to cultivate talent of its own and independently create a repertoire of classical Russian ballets, however, this innovation gradually declined, and the repertoire became stagnant. As the turn of the century approached, the condition of ballet in Russia resembled that present in Europe. It seemed imminent that the antiquated art form would soon succumb to modernity. Ballet very well might have become extinct, if it were not for a group of controversial and ingenious Russian artists, who collectively created contemporary ballet that seamlessly unified various artistic methods. These “Westernizers”, often referred to as Miriskustniki, were members of the artistic and literary collective, Mir Iskusstva, founded in St. Petersburg in 1887. Over the course of the following four decades, the Miriskustniki entered into several artistic ventures in Russia and abroad, as a means to express their artistic inclinations and opinions. Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the most well-known and successful venture of the group, began in 1909 with its first season in Paris.

This presentation analyzes the formation and artistic views of Mir Iskusstva in order to outline what probable historical and personal factors influenced the group’s decision to present ballet in Paris. Additionally, through analysis of various characteristics of the troupe’s first Russian season in Paris, this presentation proposes that, qualities, such as “exotic” and erotic subject matter and the high level of dance enabled the troupe to achieve near instantaneous stardom in Paris.


Ballet, 20th century, Mir Iskusstva, Sergei Diaghilev, Ballets Russes 


Увлечение – Enthusiasm, interest, fascination
Балетоман; балетомания – Balletomane; balletomania
Застой – Stagnation
Упадок – Decline
Славянофилы – Slavophiles
Передвижники – Peredvizhniki, the Wanderers
Сторонники Запада – Westernizers
Мир Искусства – The World of Art Movement
Мирискусники – Miriskustniki
Восхищаться; восторг – To admire, be delighted with; admiration, delight
Художественные направления – Art movements
Суть искусства – Purpose, main point of art
Творчество; творческое пространство – Creative work; creative space
Искусство ради искусства – Art for art’s sake
Выражать; выражение – To express; expression
Изображать; изображение – To depict, portray; depiction
Меценат искусства – Patron of the arts
Способность – Capability, skill
Сотрудничество – Collaboration
Соперничество – Rivalry
Объединять; объединение – To unite, join; unification
Соединять; соединение – To combine, unite; combination
Создавать; создание – To create; creation
Балетная труппа – Ballet troupe, company
Содержание – Subject matter
Спаситель; спасение – Savior; rescue


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Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

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