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The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives

The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives

Sporton, Gregory (2012) The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives. Scene, 1 (1). pp. 85-98. ISSN 2044-3714 (doi:

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One of the great cultural mysteries of the twentieth century is how a radical new form of government would come to be represented in cultural terms by an art form so associated with its conservative predecessor. From Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union, ballet managed to survive a transition that was both creative and political. In this essay the reinvention of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow from Tsarist to Bolshevik is discovered through the archive materials of the Bolshoi itself. What were the dynamics that encouraged experimentation that of itself was then defined as failure precisely because of its experimental nature? What was the formula that enabled the Bolshoi to represent the Soviet Union despite its representation of an aristocratic past that the Revolution had swept away? In a society where everything is politicized, how does ballet contribute to the polity? From the threat of closure in the new regime's first days, through radical attempts to depict the proletariat in ballet action, to the descent into the creative stasis of socialist realism, we trace the path of ballet in the early Soviet period and its struggle to reform itself and represent the new society around it.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soviet Union, ballet, Bolshoi, socialist realism,
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Communications & Creative Arts
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:23

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