In Boston online arts magazine The Arts Fuse, dance critic Marcia B. Siegel reviews Janice Ross’s book Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia and reconstructions of ballets by Yakobson danced by members of Boston Ballet.
From the piece:
Stanford University dance historian Janice Ross and Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen offered the best possible insight into Yakobson’s work this week, with a book-length study and performances of five of Yakobson’s works.
Ross details how Yakobson clung to dissident themes and movement material under the Soviets, when classical tradition, experimentation, and social realism in turn became official conduits for ballet art.
What’s clear from the book, and from the pieces bravely performed here as reconstructed by Yakobson’s former dancers Nikolay Levitskiy and Vera Solovyeva, with assistance by Boston Ballet’s former principal dancer Larissa Ponomarenko, is that something was emerging toward the end of his life that might have averted the hard-edge violence that passes for eroticism in today’s contemporary ballet.