Body as archive

  Before our trip, I always believed that modern dance was a relatively new import to Russia, and one that was still trying to gain a foothold in its cultural landscape. ¬†With its angular lines and challenging themes, the choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky is sometimes described as some of the earliest “modern” dance, but his work, which all premiered on the stages of the Ballet Russe in Paris, never made an impression… Read More

The young and the restless, Russian style

  We arrive at the Mariinsky in a flurry, after having been initially dropped at a theater featuring a large poster advertising an upcoming Carla Bruni concert. We run up the stairs, and rush to our seats in one of the boxes in the balcony. As everyone takes in the opulence of the house, there is a palpable excitement, almost giddiness over the extravagance. Decorated with velvet chairs, gold chandeliers, and all… Read More

Red squared

On our tour of the Museum of Contemporary Russia (see Kristi’s post), we saw footage of a parade though Red Square at the end of WWII. The battalions of soldiers marched in perfect square formations in a grand parade lasting nine hours. Passing in front of Stalin’s podium, the military representatives tossed German medals at his feet, marking their victory in a formal, rainy, epic performance of power. What a different space… Read More

The familiar and the foreign

  Being in Moscow has proven to be a continual combination of familiar and foreign. The logos for starbucks, le pain quotidian, and nike are easy to spot, but the time it takes to clumsily sound out the accompanying Cyrillic words are persistent reminders that I’m not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Slowly, I am beginning to feel more confident in navigating the city streets and–more terrifyingly–the massive subway without Amanda or Irina… Read More

Bumping into Nureyev

    On Tuesday night, while making our way through the streets of Moscow trying to decide where we were going and what we might eat, we stumbled across a small row of statues–busts of famous Russian artists. In the middle was an artistically represented depiction of Rudolf Nureyev, one of Russia’s most famous ballet dancers and most prominent defectors from the then USSR. His likeness surfaced all of my knowledge of… Read More