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La Nijinska


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Table of Contents

Transliteration and Russian Names
Chapter 1: Nijinska's Apprenticeship
Chapter 2: Amazon of the Avant-Garde
Chapter 3: Back from the Future
Chapter 4: Where is Home?
Chapter 5: Les Noces
Chapter 6: Les Biches
Chapter 7: Le Train Bleu and its Aftermath
Chapter 8: A Free-lance Choreographer
Chapter 9: Globalizing Modernism
Chapter 10: Les Ballets de Madame Ida Rubinstein
Chapter 11: A Choreographer for Russia Abroad
Chapter 12: Les Ballets Russes de Bronislava Nijinska
Chapter 13: On the Road
Chapter 14: In Wartime America
Chapter 15: The Final Act
Chapter 16: Resurrection
List of Works
Illustrations Credits
Archives, Collections, and Other Sources
Selected Bibliography

About the Author

Lynn Garafola is Professor Emerita of Dance at Barnard College, Columbia University. A dance historian and critic, she is the author of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance, and the editor of several books, including The Diaries of Marius Petipa, André Levinson on Dance (with Joan Acocella), José Limón: An Unfinished Memoir, and The Ballets Russes
and Its World. She has curated several exhibitions, including Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet, New York Story: Jerome Robbins and His World, Diaghilev's Theater of Marvels: The Ballets Russes and Its Aftermath, and, most recently, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's
Ballet Trailblazer.


La Nijinska reveals why some choreographers become canonized and illustrates the process's inseparability from external funding, gender, race, class, and ethnicity.

Esteemed dance historian Lynn Garafola meticulously chronicles this life -- in the first full Nijinska biography ever
*Mindy Aloff, Wendy Perron*

La Nijinska realigns dance history and does long-overdue justice to one of the twentieth century's great women artists.
*Alastair Macauley, The New York Review of Books*

In a year of great books about dance, this biography of Vaslav Nijinskys sister, Bronislava, stands out... Sensational and enraging.
*Sarah Crompton and Robbie Millen, 7 best film and theatre books of 2022, Sunday Times*

Blessedly free of academic dance jargon... Garafola's writing style is clear, unfussy, and easy to digest. She presents us, however, with the life of an immensely talented choreographer whose artistic ambition remained thwarted and unfulfilled. It's a sad story but one I urge you to discover for yourself.
*Jonathan Gray*

... an engrossing book, which gives full weight to an extraordinary life... It is the art that is the ultimate subject of Garafolas book, and she does a triumphant job of reasserting its importance and recreating its impact. So few of Nijinskas works survive that is good to be reminded of just how significant many were when they were first seen, and how wide her influence was on succeeding generations...
*Sarah Crompton, The Spectator*

Lynn Garafola, doyenne of ballet historians, has produced a scrupulously researched biography of a remarkable woman... Garafola's biography of this brave and complex woman is as judicious as it is sensitive. I recently completed a modest book covering some of the same field. I only wish I had been able to incorporate her meticulous scholarship before it went to press.
*Rupert Christiansen, Literary Review*

... serious and thoroughly researched study of ballet's leading female choreographer... [an] excellent and thoughtful book.
*Gillian Spickernell, The Lady*

fascinating, and very well researched
*Avatâra Ayuso, ONE*

It's gratifying when a biographer and her subject are as perfectly matches as these two are. Everything in Lynn Garafola's prior life - her authorship of a major work on Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, her investigations into other ballet and modern dance companies, her years of teaching in Barnard's eminent dance department - prepared her to accomplish this challenging task. And for Bronislava Nijinska, the long-neglected sister of Vaslav Nijinsky, it's nothing short of a resuscitation. Left out of the ballet history in which she actively participated ... she now has been brought to life by this first-ever biography.
*Wendy Lesser, New York Times*

Finally the biography she deserves.
*Dance International*

Nijinska could not have hoped for a more sympathetic and conscientious biographer than Garafola.... She understands the physical, educational, visual, dramatic, political, interpersonal, and financial aspects of the dance industry from the inside out.
*Harlow Robinson, Los Angeles Review of Books*

[Nijinska's] life after 1924 is known only in sketchy form, though Garafola does a tremendous job of resurrecting it.
*Marcia Siegel, Hudson Review*

A biography ... told in rich, fascinating detail.
*Jennifer Wilson, The Nation*

Garafola documents the ways in which a misogynistic establishment undermined Nijinska's achievements and argues that, despite this, her ideas about the relationship between movement and music helped shape the modern art of ballet.
*The New Yorker*

La Nijinska is a wonderful read; a window into the life of a woman who, for decades, was the world's leading female choreographer.... A big but gratifying read. Garafola provides a previously sketchy, monochrome account of history in color for the first time.
*Seeing Dance*

A fascinating account of life and work of the great and enigmatic Bronislava Nijinska, who left us a couple of ballets of genius and many unanswered questions. Nijinska, the most influential woman choreographer in classical ballet, was an inspiration for many generations of dance makers, and yet many aspects of her life remained poorly researched and unknown, partly because her memoirs only covered the early years. I was especially interested to read about Nijinska's choreographic debuts in Kiyv, Ukraine, and the second part of her life in California. The interviews of the dancers who worked with her last are priceless. Congratulations to Lynn Garafola. This book, thoroughly researched, full of unknown facts and inspiring details, is a book we were all waiting for.
*Alexei Ratmansky, Choreographer, American Ballet Theatre*

In this inspirational first biography of Bronislava Nijinska, based on global research, Lynn Garafola has successfully drawn the great choreographer from the shadow of her famous brother. She reveals a complex woman who experienced more than her fair share of tragedies and was constantly betrayed by men, while creating experimental ballets and inspiring successive generations of performers, directors and choreographers.
*Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance, Victoria and Albert Museum, London*

This book is an astonishing achievement. Nijinska, sister of tragic dancer-genius Nijinsky, emerges here as a larger-than-life heroine, an Amazon endowed with visionary talent, yet blocked at every turn by forces arrayed against an ambitious woman. It's an epic tale, based on impeccable sources, narrated with rare lucidity, set against a three-continent-wide panorama of European, American and émigré-Russian artists and impresarios, all chasing after this magical quality we now call Modernity.
*Elizabeth Kendall, author of Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer*

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