The University of Wisconsin Press

Dance / Music / Russian & Slavic Studies


Writings on Ballet and Music
Fedor Lopukhov
Edited and with an introduction by Stephanie Jordan

Studies in Dance History
Published under the auspices of the Society of Dance History Scholars

The first English-language edition of writings by a key figure in twentieth-century ballet

Although little-known in the West, Fedor Lopukhov was a leading figure in Russia's dance world for more than sixty years and an influence on many who became major figures in Western dance, such as George Balanchine. As a choreographer, he staged the first post-revolutionary productions of traditional ballets like Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty as well as avant-garde and experimental works, including Dance Symphony, Bolt, and a highly controversial version of The Nutcracker. This first publication in English of Lopukhov's theoretical writings will give readers a clear understanding of his seminal importance in dance history and illuminate his role in the development of dance as a nonnarrative, musically based form.

These writings present the rationale behind Lopukhov's attempt to develop a "symphonic" ballet that would integrate the formal and expressive elements of dance and music. They also show his finely detailed knowledge of the classical heritage and his creative efforts to transmit major works to future generations. This edition explains not only the making of his own controversial Dance Symphony but also the issues he saw at stake in productions of Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and other key works by Petipa and Fokine. Lopukhov's writings argue the details of choreographic devices with an unusual degree of precision, and his comments on composers and the musical repertoire used by his predecessors and contemporaries are equally revealing. Stephanie Jordan's introduction deftly situates these writings within the context of Lopukhov's life and career and in relation to the theories, aesthetics, and practices of dance in the twentieth century.

"The availability of these finely translated essays in English (and Stephanie Jordan's illuminating introduction) will educate the Western world about the lost choreographer Fedor Lopukhov's role in the history of choreography, both experimental and classical, in Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as his contribution to dance theory. It will shed light for both dance and music audiences on relations between music and ballet—not only in Lopukhov's own works, but in the ballets of Marius Petipa, the nineteenth-century choreographer of the great ballet classics whose compositions Lopukhov scrutinized attentively and imaginatively."—Sally Banes, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Fedor Lopukhov (1886–1973) was born and lived most of his life in St. Petersburg. He attended the ballet school affiliated with the Maryinsky (later Kirov) Theatre, where he made his debut in 1905, danced as a soloist until 1922, and served as artistic director from 1922 through the end of that decade and for brief periods during the 1940s and 1950s. Stephanie Jordan is research professor in dance at Roehampton University of Surrey.

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January 2003

184 pp. 6 x 9
15 b/w photos
20 musical examples

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