En Pointe: The Politics of Imperial Russia and its Ballet

By Krista Sigler.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

My work is a study of the world of celebrity surrounding the great Russian dancer Mathilde Kshesinskaia from approximately the start of her dance career (1890) through the Russian Revolution (1917). Using memoirs and press sources, I will show that the nature of Kshesinskaia’s celebrity changed in this period, alongside the relaxation of the press and the pressures of World War I. While Kshesinskaia’s fame was originally limited to her fame as a prestigious dancer, known in the press and her audience as such, the war years expanded and refashioned her fame, making her, in aristocratic rumor and popular press alike, a symbol of the flaws of the imperial government. Rather than merely serving as an entertaining distraction, celebrity in the era of the revolution created fodder for attack on the imperial state.

Keywords: Ballet, Russia, Representation, Culture

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.59-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.234MB).

Dr. Krista Sigler

Doctoral Candidate, History Department, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati, where I will defend my Modern European History degree in winter 2009. My dissertation is “The Kshesinskaia Mansion: Elite Culture and the Politics of Modernity in Revolutionary Russia,” a biography of a house, once owned by an imperial favorite and later the infamous headquarters of the Bolsheviks. My work is an examination of how different social classes’ competing visions of modernity played a part in the breakdown that was the Russian Revolution. My research focus is on the culture of late imperial Russia, with broad interest in how culture has expressed and refined ideas of identity.


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