Accepted Paper:

Imagining and performing India in the repertoire of Russian Ballets (19th and 20th centuries)  


Tiziana Leucci (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

My paper analyses the ballets staged in Russia whose plots related to India, particularly its dancing girls known as bayadères or bayaderka (terms of portuguese origin). I’ll show how they were composed by taking inspiration from the European travellers’ accounts and the contemporary Orientalist scholarship.

Paper long abstract:

My paper proposal analyses some of those ballets staged in Russia, whose plots related to India, its palaces and kings, its temples and priests, and expecially its dancing girls, better known as bayadères or bayaderka (terms of portuguese origin). I will also show how those ballets were composed by taking inspiration from both the European travellers' accounts in India and the knowledge of Orientalist scholarship. In my intervention I will focus particularly on the 19th and 20th century Russian choreographic productions, which were the offsprings of the interaction between local Russian artists and scholars, with those writers, choreographers, dancers, musicians and music composers coming from India and other Eastern, Central and Western European countries. Those ballets featured the best choreographers, dancers, painters and librettists of the time, and contributed a great deal in the dissemination amongst contemporary European audiences, of the artistic and literary knowledge about India, its culture and related socio-religious customs, widely portrayed in those plays. A special attention will be given to the study of the ballet 'La Bayadère' (Russian : Bayaderka), firstly represented in St. Petersbourg in 1877 which, in its revised versions, is still performed today by the major ballet company in the world.

Panel P05
Imagining India in Central and Eastern Europe