Leonide Massine: Choreographic genius with a collaborative spirit

Date

1982-05

Authors

Fusillo, Lisa Ann

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Abstract

As a leading figure in the development of dance in the twentieth century, Leonide Massine was an artist who foresaw and created an idiom of dance that transcend stylistic boundaries. The ballets which Massine produced had a profound effect upon choreographic approaches to dance movement. Massine's ballets also reflect the strong association of decorative art and music to the dance. This artistic integration became a vital creative force for Massine throughout his career and was rooted in the education imparted by Serge de Diaghilev.

It was Diaghilev who discovered, nurtured and guided Massine. Under the watchful eye of his mentor, Massine's education stressed the importance of unity in the arts--music, painting, literature and dance--to accomplish a wholeness of art in the theatre. This foundation established by Diaghilev was an elemental factor in Massine's choreographic endeavors which made him a Diaghilev legacy.

During his lifetime, Massine was widely recognized for his brilliance as a dancer and an innovative choreographer. The intent of this study is to provide an understanding of this remarkable artist and to investigate the importance of artistic collaboration in his life and work. In fulfilling this purpose, it was necessary to identify the major influences on Massine's choreography; particularly focusing on Diaghilev, selected artists and musicians with whom Massine collaborated, and other pertinent events of his life.

Some of the ballets which resulted from these collaborative efforts are monuments of inventiveness and creativity, and a discussion of four Massine ballets is included in the study. The investigation gained an added dimension to this research through the direct association as choreographic assistant to Massine.

In the spirit of the Diaghilev tradition, Massine's life and work became an unending educational process, dominated by the intense dedication to artistic collaboration.

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Keywords

Choreographers, Dancers, Choreography, Dancers, Communication and the arts

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