Ballets Russes and Descendants - Dance - Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Nijinsky

As a young man, Nijinsky (1888?–1950) danced at the Mariinsky Theater, where he was a huge success. In 1912, he began his career as a choreographer. He created several works for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes during his career. He is sometimes thought of as the father of Expressionist Dance. His most influential works were the innovative L'Apres-midi d'un Faune and The Rite of Spring (to music by Stravinsky).

Nijinsky collaborated with Stravinsky for Le Sacre du Printemps in 1913 (also known as The Rite of Spring), as well as the set designer Roerich. Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer have since reconstructed the piece, including sets and costumes, and set it on the Joffrey Ballet. In Nijinsky's time, the work was shocking and controversial, both for the music and wildness of the dance. As a result, many people in the theater on opening night created a near riot. Because of mental illness, Nijinsky eventually retired from dance; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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