Rene Blum and The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life

Rene Blum and The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life

by Judith Chazin-Bennahum
     
 

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Ren? Blum and the Ballets Russes documents the life of the enigmatic and brilliant writer and producer who resurrected the Ballets Russes after Diaghilev died. Based on a treasure trove of previously undiscovered letters and documents, the book not only tells the poignant story of Blum's life, but also illustrates the central role Blum played in the…  See more details below

Overview

Ren? Blum and the Ballets Russes documents the life of the enigmatic and brilliant writer and producer who resurrected the Ballets Russes after Diaghilev died. Based on a treasure trove of previously undiscovered letters and documents, the book not only tells the poignant story of Blum's life, but also illustrates the central role Blum played in the development of dance in the United States. Indeed, Blum's efforts to save his ballet company eventually helped to bring many of the world's greatest dancers and choreographers--among them Fokine, Balanchine, and Nijinska--to American ballet stages.

Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Homans
Blum now has a biographer. She is Judith Chazin-Bennahum, a historian of dance…Her research is worthy, and we owe her a debt for bringing Blum back into historical view.
—The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Unlike his French prime minister brother, Léon, René Blum (1878–1941) spent his life in a cultural rather than political milieu. As editor of the literary journal Gil Blas, he was acquainted with the likes of Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Claude Debussy, Paul Valéry, and Marcel Proust. A man of arts as well as letters, Blum was a theatrical manager whose forte was producing and promoting dance. Acording to Chazin-Bennahum (Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre & Dance, Univ. of New Mexico), "Blum is revered for having saved the Ballets Russes from probable extinction after the death of Diaghilev in 1929." In 1932, in partnership with Colonel W. de Basil, Blum resurrected Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, which existed until 1963. To compile this biography, Chazin-Bennahum mined a wealth of previously untapped primary sources and unearthed numerous photographs from several archival collections. Blum's own autobiography has been lost since he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz in 1941. VERDICT Balletomanes, Francophiles, and students of European cultural history will enjoy this scholarly and meticulously researched work.—Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199831760
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
6 MB

Meet the Author

Judith Chazin-Bennahum, former ballet dancer, is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico.

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