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First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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Although untrained as a dancer, Ida Rubinstein was an integral part of the first Paris season of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1909. Her celebrated beauty and mysterious origins (she was an orphan from a wealthy Russian Jewish family) added to the exoticism of the lavishly staged ballets she graced, which also featured no less than Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky. After a second season in this exalted company, Rubinstein left to form her own troupe. For more than 20 years, she would produce and often star in plays and ballets. Her own performing talents may have received mixed reviews, but for her theatrical spectacles she commissioned music by Ravel, Debussy, and Stravinsky; sets and costumes by Bakst and Benois; poetry by d'Annunzio and Cocteau; and choreography by Fokine, Nijinska, and Massine. Charles S. Mayer, writing in the International Encyclopedia of Dance (LJ 4/1/98) noted that "although Rubinstein's entire career was an exercise in self-glorification, it is noteworthy that the dancers, musicians, composers, poets, dramatists, and designers she employed were among the most influential and important in their professions in the twentieth century." The story of this singular grande dame will find its niche in collections that concentrate on the history of dance and the performing arts. Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
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