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Theatre Costume

1909 (made)

Part of a costume for a Polovtsian Maiden in the Polovtsian dances from Prince Igor designed by Nicolas Roerich. It was the production most frequently danced by the Ballets Russes and the only work in every season from 1909 – 1929. It was performed in some form at over a quarter of all performances by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. With its emphasis on vigorous male dancing it introduced a new note into ballet early in the C20th. As choreographed by Mikhail Fokine to music from the opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin the dances were first performed as part of the act of the opera presented by Serge Diaghilev on 18/19 May 1909 at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. The first performance of the complete opera presented by Diaghilev was in London on 8 June 1914 at Drury Lane.
When Fokine was commissioned to choreograph the Polovtsian dances he complained that he knew nothing of the remote, extinct Polovtsi and their dances but he worked fast and created a response to Borodin’s powerful score. It has been suggested by Alexander Shiryaev that Fokine’s new dances were influenced by Lev Ivanov’s earlier choreography.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
silk
Brief description
Costume for a Polovtsian Maiden in Fokine's ballet Polovtsian Dances from 'Prince Igor', Diaghilev Ballet, 1909.
Physical description
Costume for a Polovtsian Maiden in Fokine's ballet Polovtsian Dances from 'Prince Igor', Diaghilev Ballet, 1909. Ikat shift in reddish black, sapphire blue and cream with a purple and blue bands around hem, on skirt and above cuffs painted with a reddish violet zig-zag. Fastened at the neck with decortive brass buttons (some missing)
Dimensions
  • Length: 103cm (Note: shoulder to hem)
  • Width: 46cm
  • Weight: 0.8kg
Object history
Given to the V&A by the Friends of the Museum of the Performing Arts who had purchased it at the Sotheby sale on 19 December 1969 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Lot 9 vi.
Summary
Part of a costume for a Polovtsian Maiden in the Polovtsian dances from Prince Igor designed by Nicolas Roerich. It was the production most frequently danced by the Ballets Russes and the only work in every season from 1909 – 1929. It was performed in some form at over a quarter of all performances by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. With its emphasis on vigorous male dancing it introduced a new note into ballet early in the C20th. As choreographed by Mikhail Fokine to music from the opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin the dances were first performed as part of the act of the opera presented by Serge Diaghilev on 18/19 May 1909 at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. The first performance of the complete opera presented by Diaghilev was in London on 8 June 1914 at Drury Lane.

When Fokine was commissioned to choreograph the Polovtsian dances he complained that he knew nothing of the remote, extinct Polovtsi and their dances but he worked fast and created a response to Borodin’s powerful score. It has been suggested by Alexander Shiryaev that Fokine’s new dances were influenced by Lev Ivanov’s earlier choreography.
Collection
Accession number
S.589-1980

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Record createdJuly 1, 2009
Record URL
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