Archive | February, 2015

Sarah Kaufman for The Washington Post: “Yakobson got there first, by nearly half a century”

Sarah Kaufman reviewed Janice Ross’s book Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia for the February 26, 2015 edition of the Washington Post. From the piece:

Ross is right: The story of this artist, all but unknown in the West, is a “hidden yet monumental tale” about an unruly genius who proved that Westerners weren’t the only ones turning ballet into a modern art.

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The Jewish Chronicle (UK) reviews “Like a Bomb Going Off”

Anne Sebba reviewed Janice Ross’s Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia for the Jewish Chronicle on February 19, 2015. 

Leonid Yakobson is probably one of the most famous Russian choreographers you’ve never heard of. He was also Jewish, a not unrelated fact.

Yakobson was not afraid to use ballet as a way of commenting on the state and its political ordering of the individual. He understood how, in Russia, the ruling powers from Lenin to Stalin, even including Gorbachev, had used classical ballet for their own ends. He not only saw dance as an important medium of social expression but was determined to make it a vital repository of cultural memories of ethnicity, invention, modernism and resistance, all of which were at risk of being erased.

Ross is to be congratulated for finally giving [Yakobson] his due as the equal of Balanchine. One wonders why this genius of modern ballet is not better known.

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The Daily Beast runs excerpt of “fantastic new book” by Janice Ross

“The Ballet Genius Who Took on the Soviets” in The Daily Beast on February 5, 2015, describes the impact Leonid Yakobson had as a radical artist in his time and runs an excerpt of Janice Ross’s book Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia.

Before there was Pussy Riot there was Leonid Yakobson. Using art to challenge authoritarian rule in Russia is a sport that dates back to the earliest days of the Russian revolution. While Pussy Riot launched their volley from inside Red Square, just across the street, on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, during the most brutal decades of Stalinist repression, Yakobson spun out a toe shoe revolution.

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