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Degrees of Separation: Lester Horton’s

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Le Sacre du printemps at The Hollywood Bowl

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This essay examines Lester Horton’s 1937 production of Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) at the Hollywood Bowl. In particular, the genesis of the work and the transference of Russian modernism in 1930s Los Angeles is explored. The essay focuses on Horton’s professional relationships with two artists in Los Angeles, Adolph Bolm and Michio Ito, both of whom were in his proximity as teachers, mentors and colleagues when he created Le Sacre. The Russian émigré Bolm, a former dancer with the Ballets Russes during the period Nijinsky choreographed The Rite of Spring in 1913, was a well-established teacher and choreographer in Los Angeles. Bolm’s and Horton’s parallel interests in American Indian dance forms are discussed. Ito, the Japanese dancer and choreographer who was inspired to pursue dance after witnessing performances of the Ballets Russes, trained in Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Hellerau before settling in Los Angeles in 1929. Horton’s production of Le Sacre, the seventh created internationally and first West Coast version is discussed in detail, drawing on the choreographer’s rehearsal notes and other first-hand accounts.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Dance, California State UniversityLong


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