B1549. (NIJINSKY) ROMOLA NIJINSKY, his Wife. Nijinsky. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1934. 447pp. Index; Photos; DJ.
“Vaslav Nijinsky was a Russian danseur and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. As a dancer, Nijinsky was extraordinary for his time. Nijinsky is responsible for changing the audiences’ perspective of the male dancer. He was a sensual performer and wore revealing costumes. He looked androgynous. He grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations. He could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was also legendary. A turning point for Nijinsky was his meeting Sergei Diaghilev, a celebrated and highly innovative producer of ballet and opera as well as art exhibitions, who concentrated on promoting Russian visual and musical art abroad, particularly in Paris. Nijinsky and Diaghilev became lovers for a time, and Diaghilev was heavily involved in directing and managing Nijinsky's career. Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance.
Nijinsky's Diary was written during the six weeks he spent in Switzerland before being committed to the asylum, combining elements of autobiography with appeals for compassion toward the less fortunate, and for vegetarianism and animal rights. Nijinsky writes of the importance of feeling as opposed to reliance on reason and logic alone, and he denounces the practice of art criticism as being nothing more than a way for those who practice it to indulge their own egos rather than focusing on what the artist was trying to say. The diary also contains bitter and conflicted thoughts regarding his relationship with Diaghilev.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron