Michel Fokine


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Fokine, Michel

(mēshĕl` fōkēn`, Rus. fô`kyĭn), 1880–1942, Russian-American choreographer and ballet dancer, b. Russia. He studied at the Imperial Ballet School (1889–98) and danced at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg. In 1905 he created Le Cygne (The Dying Swan) for Pavlova to music of Saint-Saëns. He accompanied Sergei DiaghilevDiaghilev, Sergei Pavlovich
, 1872–1929, Russian ballet impresario and art critic, grad. St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music, 1892. In 1898 he founded an influential journal, Mir Iskusstva [The World of Art].
..... Click the link for more information.
 to Paris in 1909 and was choreographer for his company until 1914. Fokine, considered the founder of modern ballet, based his choreography on the old system of training but eliminated rigid traditions, thus paving the way for the new freedom to come with expressionism. He emigrated in 1919 to the United States, where he formed several companies and conducted a ballet school. In 1932 he became a U.S. citizen. Among the approximately 70 ballets created by Fokine are Les Sylphides (1909), Prince Igor (1909), The Firebird (1910), Scheherazade (1910), The Spectre of the Rose (1916), and Petrouchka (1916).

Bibliography

See his memoirs (ed. by A. Chujoy, tr. 1961).

Fokine, Michel

 

Born Apr. 11 (23), 1880, in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 23, 1942, in New York. Russian ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher.

In 1898, Fokine graduated from the St. Petersburg Theater School, where he had trained under N. G. Legat. He performed as a soloist at the Mariinskii Theater. From 1901 to 1911 he taught at the St. Petersburg Theater School; his pupils included E. P. Gerdt and L. V. Lopukhov. He made his choreographic debut in 1905. From 1909 to 1912 and again in 1914, Fokine performed with the Russian Seasons Abroad in Paris and London. Leaving Russia in 1918, he settled permanently in the United States in 1921.

Fokine sought to reform the ballet theater. He gave each of his productions a certain uniqueness, creating ballets that rested entirely on their choreography. Fokine drew upon elements of folk dance and kindred arts. Classical dance-steps were combined with free movement and new modes of expression. Fokine’s aesthetics included stylization and the reproduction of dances depicted on ancient vases and in old engravings. At the same time he always strove to relate to the contemporary audience. Each of Fokine’s ballets was psychologically meaningful, dramatically tense, and theatrically effective. Through the use of symphonic music not composed for ballet, he developed the concept of symphonic dance. He also developed the plotless ballet as an independent genre based on musical and choreographic principles. Reality in Fokine’s ballets was a bacchanalian festival disrupted by loneliness, ruined hopes, or the doom brought about by uncurbed passions.

Fokine, a graceful dancer with a light, high leap, danced principal roles in numerous classical ballets. His productions at the Mariinskii Theater included Le Pavilion d’Armide (music by Cherepnin), Une Nuit d’Egypte (music by Arend), Chopiniana (music by Chopin), and Islamei (music by Balakirev). His ballets for the Russian Seasons Abroad included Polovtsian Dances (music from Borodin’s opera Prince Igor), The Firebird (music by Stravinsky), Petrushka (music by Stravinsky), and Daphnis and Chloë (music by Ravel). For Pavlova, he choreographed The Dying Swan to the music of Saint-Saëns. Fokine was associated with the Paris Opera in 1934 and 1935 and with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1936 to 1939. From 1923 to 1942 he headed a ballet studio in New York. Fokine wrote his memoirs and articles on ballet.

WORKS

Umiraiushchii lebed. Introductory article by G. Dobrovol’skaia. Leningrad, 1961.
Protiv techeniia, Vospominaniia baletmeistera. Stat’i, pis’ma. (Introductory article by Iu. I. Slonimski.) Leningrad-Moscow, 1962.

REFERENCES

Ivanov, I. M. Fokin. Petrograd, 1923.
Stravinsky, I. Khronika moei zhizni. Leningrad, 1962. (Translated from French.)
Krasovskaia, V. M. Russkii baletnyi teatr nachala XX veka, Leningrad, 1971.
Beaumont, C. Michel Fokine and His Ballets. London, 1935.
References in periodicals archive ?
Benois, who had collaborated with the composer on the scenario, provided the sets and costumes, with an ingenious choreography by Michel Fokine.
Last August, Irine Fokine, niece of Michel Fokine, closed the doors of the Irine Fokine School of Ballet after 60 years and 52 annual Nutcrackers.
If choreographer Michel Fokine and designer Alexandre Benois had wanted a Blueamoor in Petrouchka, they would have indicated their desires.
The point is made in this wonderful book that it was Isadora Duncan, the American barefoot dancer (who was indifferent to classical ballet and the block toe-shoe) who influenced Diaghilev's choreographer, Michel Fokine thus we can see Duncan's tendril arm movements in Fokine's Les Sylphides .
Perhaps it was fateful that his first choice for adviser, renowned ballet choreographer Michel Fokine, said he wasn't interested.
Of Native American Choctaw descent, this only daughter of a Kansas City railroad worker began dancing in Kansas City but moved to New York in her teens to study with Michel Fokine and Anatole Vilzak.
Of the dancers and choreographers I would include George Balanchine, for redefining and popularizing classical dance; Michel Fokine, for making ballet a serious art form; and Anna Pavlova who, like Duncan, laid the groundwork for dance's international acceptance.
It almost sounds like the crowd scenes that Michel Fokine did for Petrouchka.
Of the other such figures--perhaps Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, and George Balanchine--only Balanchine I knew well and adored with the messianic fervor of a critic-disciple.
Michel Fokine is said to have declared, "This is not a new style.
It really comes down to the reason why Diaghilev, in 1909, along with Alexandre Benois, Leon Bakst, Michel Fokine, and a few others, when invited to stage a season of Russian opera and ballet at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, delivered dance in a mixed bill.
De Lappe danced for Michel Fokine and was Agnes de Mille's protegee in the '40s and '50s.