“The Afternoon of a Faun” – Vaslav Nijinsky‏

800px-Bakst_Nizhinsky

                           Program for L’après-midi d’un faune”  (1912)

                                                       Léon Bakst
 
                                                          _______
 
 
though the reference to Pan is not direct
in the title of Nijinsky‘s choreographic 
rendition of Debussy‘s 1894 symphonic
classic, itself a musical transposition
of Stéphane Mallarmé‘s 1876 poem, 
L’après-midi d’un faune“, or, in English, 
connections are unmistakably implicit, 
not only in the story which is told, but 
also in the elements of the dance, which 
borrows heavily from Grecian urns, their 
static, angular poses
 
also Mallarmé makes specific allusions to
Syrinx herself, among other nymphs, in his 
seminal work, not to mention to the deity’s
eponymous flute
 
the only change to the original production 
dancers, here, Rudolf Nureyev performs 
with the Joffrey Ballet, where Vaslav
Nijinskythe choreographer himself, 
danced with Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets
Russes in the show that made history, 
the sets and costumes by Léon Bakst 
remain also unchanged, this is what the 
audience saw May 12, 1912, at the very  
 
the piece shocked even irreverent Paris,
of course, for its overt and unapologetic
eroticism, it‘ll probably even shock you, 
still
 
I thought, this is what happened to Berlin 
after the First World War, a reconstructed
chthonic* resurgence at the death of an 
old order, the Age of Aquarius after the 
nuclear scare, “Hair
 
famously, Auguste Rodin loved it
 
 
Richard
 
chthonic: of what makes you snort, grunt,
   instinctive forces, the ones which make  
   a young man’s fancy turn to, well, love 
 
   or worse
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