Vaslav Nijinsky

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Related to Vaslav Nijinsky: Martha Graham, Kurt Godel, George Balanchine
Vaslav Nijinsky
Wacław Niżyński
BirthplaceKiev, Russian Empire
ballet dancer, choreographer

Nijinsky, Vaslav

(vəsläf` nyĭzhēn`skē), 1890–1950, Russian ballet dancer and choreographer; brother of Bronislava NijinskaNijinska, Bronislava
, 1891–1972, Russian ballet dancer and choreographer; sister of Vaslav Nijinsky. She studied at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg and then joined the Maryinsky Theatre.
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. Nijinsky is widely considered the greatest dancer of the 20th cent. and was ballet's first modernist choreographer. He entered the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg, in 1900 and made his debut in 1907. He traveled to Paris (1909) and, as premier danseur in 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].
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's Ballets Russes, was the first to dance the leading roles in Petrouchka, Les Sylphides, Scheherazade, and The Spectre of the Rose, all choreographed by FokineFokine, Michel
, 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.
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, and in ballets he himself choreographed—The Afternoon of a Faun (1912), The Rite of Spring (1913, for which StravinskyStravinsky, Igor Fedorovich
, 1882–1971, Russian-American composer. Considered by many the greatest and most versatile composer of the 20th cent., Stravinsky helped to revolutionize modern music.

Stravinsky's father, an actor and singer in St.
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 composed the famous score), Jeux (1913), and Till Eulenspiegel (1916). Nijinsky developed a system of dance notation that was not deciphered until 1984; since then a number of his reconstructed ballets have been performed. Often considered the greatest male dancer of the 20th cent., Nijinsky was noted for his intensity and eroticism as well as for his superb technique, particularly his jeté and elevation. His relationship with Diaghilev was stormy, ending bitterly when the dancer married. In 1919, Nijinsky's career was abruptly terminated by disabling schizophrenia. He lived in retirement in England and Switzerland until his death.


See his 1919 diary, ed. by his wife, R. Nijinska (1936, rev. ed. 1963, unexpurgated tr. ed. by J. Acocella, 1998); biographies by R. Nijinska (1933 and 1952, repr. 1968) and R. Buckle (1971); studies by L. Kirstein (1975), B. Van Norman (1986), and M. Hodson (1996); catalog for the exhibition "Nijinsky: Legend and Modernist" (2000).

Nijinsky, Vaslav


(full Russian name, Vatslav Fomich Nizhinskii). Born Feb. 28 (Mar. 12), 1889, in Kiev; died Apr. 11, 1950, in London. Russian ballet dancer and choreographer.

Nijinsky attended the St. Petersburg Theatrical School until 1907, at which time he was accepted as a soloist at the Mariinskii Theater. He was dismissed by the theater in 1911. From 1909 to 1913 and again in 1916 and 1917, Nijinsky was a principal dancer and choreographer with the Russian Seasons and the ballet company organized by S. P. Diaghilev.

Nijinsky danced the lead roles in M. M. Fokine’s productions of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, N. Cherepnin’s Le Pavilion d’Armide and Narcissus, Arenskii’s Egyptian Nights, Schumann’s Chopinana (Les Sylphides) and Le Carnaval, and Weber’s Le Spectre de la rose. In Paris he staged Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun in 1912 and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps and Debussy’s Jeux in 1913. Nijinsky staged R. Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel in New York in 1916.

As a dancer, Nijinsky revived the art of the male dancer, combining extraordinary jumps and pirouettes with expressive plasticity and pantomime. An innovative choreographer, he expanded the vocabulary of the ballet.


Lunacharskii, A. V. V mire muzyki: Stat’i i rechi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Fokine, M. M. Protiv techeniia: Vospominaniia baletmeistera. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
But the real comparison backward in time has to be with Vaslav Nijinsky, whose example--and tragic late years--preyed on Nureyev's mind.
Backstage, choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky stood on a chair and exhorted his dancers by pounding out the rhythms with his hands.
Standards at the Paris Opera Ballet had declined over the last part of the 19th century, and spectators were stunned when Tamara Karsavina, Alexandra Baldina, and Vaslav Nijinsky burst into a veritable feast of leaping and spinning in a trio by the company's 28-year-old choreographer, Mikhail (later Michel) Fokine.
During their twenty-year run (the company disbanded in 1929 after Diaghilev's death), the Ballets Russes collaborated closely with dancers, choreographers and visual artists that included George Balanchine (1904-1983), Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950), Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Mikhail Fokine (1880-1942), Leonide Massine (1896-1979), Leon Bakst (1866-1944), Georges Braque (1882-1963), and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
1890: Vaslav Nijinsky,great Russiandancer, was born in Kiev.
Thursday and Friday night, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago gave early 20th-century ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev top billing on a program that also included such artists as Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Pablo Picasso and Vaslav Nijinsky.
She took up dancing there after being involved in artistic circles and in 1913 she worked on Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with Sergey Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, influencing the great Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky.
Nureyev made ballet dancing a man's game again; not since Vaslav Nijinsky, in the decade before World War I, had classical dance generated a superstar.
Those possessing the artistry and technique to compensate for their stature include Vaslav Nijinsky, Edward Villella, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Herman Cornejo.
His affection for Vaslav Nijinsky - the world's greatest dancer, is also here in a collection of notes, diaries and letters.
At the beginning of the chapter on Stephane Mallarme's Herodiade and L'apres-midi d'un faune, and the responses they elicited from Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Martha Graham, one reads the following footnote: "Debussy and Hindemith are well known.
But he was equally inspired by the legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, whose contorted, orgiastic performance in Claude Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun created a scandal in 1912.