Ballet's Magic Kingdom
Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911-1925
Imprint: Yale University Press
The first translation of the writings of Akim Volynsky, the greatest ballet authority of early twentieth-century Russia
Akim Volynsky was a Russian literary critic, journalist, and art historian who became Saint Petersburg’s liveliest and most prolific ballet critic in the early part of the twentieth century. This book, the first English edition of his provocative and influential writings, provides a striking look at life inside the world of Russian ballet at a crucial era in its history.
Stanley J. Rabinowitz selects and translates forty of Volynsky’s articles—vivid, eyewitness accounts that sparkle with details about the careers and personalities of such dance luminaries as Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Fokine, Tamara Karsavina, and George Balanchine, at that time a young dancer in the Maryinsky company whose keen musical sense and creative interpretive power Volynsky was one of the first to recognize. Rabinowitz also translates Volynsky’s magnum opus, The Book of Exaltations, an elaborate meditation on classical dance technique that is at once a primer and an ideological treatise. Throughout his writings, Rabinowitz argues in his critical introduction, which sets Volynsky’s life and work against the backdrop of the principal intellectual currents of his time, Volynsky emphasizes the spiritual and ethereal qualities of ballet.
~Simon Morrison"An exhilarating gathering of writings by a profoundly influential critic, and a striking, startling contribution to the historical record."—Simon Morrison, Princeton University
~Lynn Garafola“An extremely important contribution to the literature on dance.”—Lynn Garafola, author of The Ballet Russes and Its World
~Toni Bentley, New York Times Book Review"This is a fantastic book. . . . The book is a must for anyone claiming a love of ballet. . . . [Volynsky's text] is always hugely entertaining and surprising, you will never look at a toeshoe, a tiara or a tendu . . . the same way again."—Toni Bentley, New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)