Ballet Russe Premiere Is A Dramatic Break With Tradition
Parisian audiences are already a buzz with the controversial performances and await the Ballet Russe’s next premiere.
On May 29, 1912 L’APRES-MIDI D’UN FAUNE was premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris set to Claude Debussy’s ‘Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune’ and inspired by the poem of the same title by Stephane Malarme. The ballet was choreographed by Daighilev’s young protege and the Ballet Russe rising star Vaslav Nijinsky dancing the role of the Faun. Design was by Leon Bakst. There was hardly any libretto since the story centered on a faun’s meeting and flirtation with nymphs, the first time this has been used in ballet. The 11 minute performance is designed to resemble scenes from Ancient Greek vase paintings. The ballet ends with Nijinsky making love to a scarf that the most desirable nymph has dropped as she ran away. Nijinsky’s suggestive sexual poses scandalize the audience and critics are harsh…”vile movements of erotic bestiality and gestures of heavy shamelessness.” Sculptor Auguste Rodin is in the audience and he vigorously defends the piece, planning to do a sculpture of Nijinsky as the Faun. Many consider this groundbreaking performance the birth of Modern Dance.
Leon Bakst’s illustration of Nijinsky as the Faun on the cover of the programme for the 1912 season of the Ballet Russes – May 1912
Scene of Faun with Nymphs from L’APRES-MIDI D’UN FAUNE -1912 :http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5248/5274636007_2387664005.jpg
L’apres-midi d’un faune by Debussy :http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rbIzYgq0anU
Rodin’s sculpture of Nijinsky as the Faun – 1912 :http://hayhill.com/docs/rodin/full/r36g.jpg
Vaslav Nijinsky as the Faun in L’APRES-MIDI D’UN FAUNE – May 1912