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One or Two Voices? Dance and Music in the Ballets Russes

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Abstract One of the most important aesthetic innovations of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes was its shifting relations between music and dance. At first, the guiding principle was synaesthesia, linked to the Wagnerian concept of Gesamtkunstwerk but at the same time there were moves towards independence between the two media. Ballets by Fokine, Nijinsky and Massine are discussed here, followed by a range of examples from Nijinska’s Les Noces (Stravinsky, 1923) that demonstrate the new contrapuntal developments with the highest degree of sophistication


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