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Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 6:15 pm – 7:30 pm
Please join us for a talk with Maria Ratanova, art historian, dance historian, literary scholar, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute. Professor Lynn Garafola will introduce the talk.
In her talk Maria Ratanova will trace the fate and transformations of the legendary Russian 19th century ballet Sleeping Beauty, and discuss its controversial reconstruction in the St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre in 1999.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the new leadership of the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Ballet began radically reevaluating its brand in accordance with the new cultural policy of reviving the Imperial past and restoring severed international connections. The resulting unprecedented curatorial project of the 1990s, which opened the post-Soviet company to Western modernisms, can be compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall. As part of this project, the Mariinsky also undertook ambitious reconstructions of its main legacy, the 19th century ballets of the legendary master Marius Petipa. Sleeping Beauty, carefully restored with the help of the Stepanov dance notations from the Harvard Theatre Collection, was the first experimental revival in the series and soon gave rise to a worldwide trend. However, the project did not come together without struggle. Conservative ballet circles vehemently opposed it, defending the modified Soviet versions of the classical ballets. A heated battle in the media over the reconstruction ensued, and the debate is still ongoing. Ratanova will discuss the successes and challenges of the now famous reconstruction, and the new possibilities it opened to the international ballet world.
From the Harriman Institute.