On April 16, 2015, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Janice Ross conducted a book signing and lecture, “Disobedient Dances: A Jewish Choreographer in Soviet Russia.” Read more here.
Few outside Russia know of Leonid Yakobson, a choreographic genius who remained in Lenin’s Russia and continued his risky work during the darkest days of Stalin, yet everyone has heard of his contemporary and classmate, George Balanchine. Yakobson managed to create a body of revolutionary dances for the Kirov and Bolshoi ballets that spoke to the Soviet condition. A Jew working at a time of official anti-Semitism, he addressed Jewish themes in several of his ballets—openly when possible, covertly when necessary. Drawing on material from her new book, Like A Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia (Yale University Press, January 2015) as well as rare archival footage of Yakobson’s ballets, Stanford Professor Janice Ross was joined by former San Francisco Ballet Principal dancer Wendy Van Dyke, who danced in Yakobson’s Rodin, for a lively conversation about this legendary artist.