History Quiz: Vaslav Nijinsky

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1) How many ballets did Vaslav Nijinsky create? (BONUS: Name the first work he created for the Ballets Russes in 1912.)

2) How tall was Nijinsky?

3) True or False: Nijinsky made his professional debut in a travelling circus.

4) Why was Nijinsky fired from the Imperial Theatre?

5) Which choreographer was instrumental in creating roles for Nijinsky that featured his talents and expanded his abilities? Name two of these famous roles.

6) True or False: Bronislava Nijinska, Vaslav’s brother, also became a boundary-breaking choreographer.

7) Which of Nijinsky’s ballets remains the first and only ballet that caused an audience to riot?

8) During the first rehearsals of this same ballet, what demand made the dancers resent Nijinsky because it completely contradicted ballet’s classic technique?

9) What psychiatric diagnosis did Nijinsky receive, following his break with the Ballets Russes?

10) Fill in the blanks: Nijinsky helped transform ballet from a _____ _____ into a _____ _____ _____ injected with social commentary that explored primitive or folk art as a basis for psychological truth.

Answers:
1.) Four; BONUS: Afternoon of a Faun; 2.) 5’4”; 3.) True; 4.) He appeared onstage wearing only tights and a short tunic as Albrecht in Giselle.; 5.) Michel Fokine; the Golden Slave in Scheherazade, the nameless clown in Petrouchka and/or the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose; 6.) False, Bronislava Nijinska was Vaslav’s sister, not brother; 7.) Sacre de Printemps (or The Rite of Spring); 8.) He demanded that they walk and jump in a pigeon-toed position, contradicting ballet’s outward technique.; 9.) Schizophrenia; 10.) courtly entertainment; modernist art movement
Read the full article on Vaslav Nijinsky here.

Photo by John Lindquist, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives

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