Fyodor Lopukhov

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Fyodor Lopukhov (Лопухов, Фёдор Васильевич — 1886–1973) was a choreographer in Soviet Russia.

Lopukhov was born into a family of dancers, which included his brother, Andrei, and his two sisters, Evgenia and the renowned Lydia Lopokova, who was a dancer for Sergei Diaghilev. He graduated from the Saint Petersburg Theatre School in 1905 and began his career at the Mariinsky Theatre. He also toured with the Bolshoi in their 1910–11 season.[1]

Following the Revolution of 1917, a period of experimentation in ballet ensued as a distaste for works which evoked the imperial court developed in post-revolutionary Russia. To re-appeal to the public, choreographers in Soviet Russia explored new performance spaces and formed smaller chamber ballet companies where there would be more scope for creativity. Among those experimental choreographers was Fyodor Lopukhov.[2]

Lopukhov considered the relationship between music and dance, suggesting that choreographers should be able to analyse the score of their ballet as to better portray the nuances of the score in terms of instrumentation, rhythm, color, and dynamics. His goal was to create ballets from a musical as opposed to a dramatic perspective – he published his ideas in his book Paths of a Balletmaster in 1925.[3]

Lopukhov was appointed the Artistic Director of the Leningrad State Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Kirov) in 1922 and quickly began to override the work done by Marius Petipa by creating plotless ballets – the first, and best known, being Tanzsynfonia, Magnificence of the Universe (1923). Unlike the Petipa classics, Tanzsynfonia did not tell any story, but symbolically suggested the origin of universal light and other profound spiritual concepts. The choreography was characterized by a mixture of academic ballet technique and acrobatic lifts that would later become synonymous with The Soviet style of ballet [4] – his cast included George Balanchine who would later introduce similar processes and concepts to the American dance scene.[5]

Lopukhov also created the Soviet political ballet focusing on the concept of a cleansing whirlwind titled "Red Whirlwind" (1924). This ballet about the 1917 Revolution begins with an act or “process” with strong, aggressive dancers opposing the passive and elusive group. The second “process” depicts dissatisfied citizens with robbers and drunks who are defeated by the working class.

Some other ballets choreographed by Lopukhov in an effort to find a new means of expression include "Night on Bald Mountain," music by Mussorgsky (1924), "Pulcinella," music by Stravinsky (1926), and "The Fox" (1927). His attempts to evolve the principles of classical dance were displayed in the acrobatic movements and character dances closely resembling the original ethnic dances they sprung forth from in his ballet "The Ice Maiden" with music by Grieg (1927). He also staged "The Bolt" by Shostakovich in 1931.

Lopukhov assembled courses for choreographers from 1937-1941 at the Leningrad Choreographic School. He was artistic director of the choreographic section in the stage directing department at the Leningrad Conservatory starting in 1962.

Lopukhov’s other choreographed ballets include "Raymonda" (1922), "The Sleeping Beauty" (1923), "Don Quixote" (1923), "Khovanshchina" (1926), "The Red Poppy" (1929), "Coppélia" (1934), "The Snow Maiden" (1947), and "Pictures at an Exhibition" (1963).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Souritz, Elizabeth; Visson, Lynn; Banes, Sally (1985). "Fedor Lopukhov: A Soviet Choreographer in the 1920s". Dance Research Journal. 17/18: 3–20. 
  2. ^ Au, Susan (1988). Ballet and Modern Dance (2 ed.). London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. pp. 103–105. ISBN 978-0-500-20352-1. 
  3. ^ Au, Susan (1988). Ballet and Modern Dance (2 ed.). London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. pp. 103–105. ISBN 978-0-500-20352-1. 
  4. ^ Au, Susan (1988). Ballet and Modern Dance (2 ed.). London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. pp. 103–105. ISBN 978-0-500-20352-1. 
  5. ^ Souritz, Elizabeth; Visson, Lynn; Banes, Sally (1985). "Fedor Lopukhov: A Soviet Choreographer in the 1920s". Dance Research Journal. 17/18: 3–20.