November 21, 2013

Courses: From the Mariinsky to Manhattan: George Balanchine and the Transformation of American Dance

MW 2:30-4:00: Professor Beth Genné
RC Humanities 444/ Dance 564 Winter 2014

This seminar examines the life and works of Russian-American dancer/choreographer George Balanchine.

Balanchine ranked with Picasso and Stravinsky as one of the titans of twentieth century arts. Balanchine’s

fusion of so-called “fine” and “popular” art helped transform the landscape of American arts during the

first part of the twentieth century by altering and adapting the Russian tradition of dance to the culture

of his adopted home in the U.S. resulting in a reinvigoration of dance in the American Musical Theatre

and the creation of a distinctively American ballet. This seminar examines the interaction and fusion

of “high” and “low”, “Russian” and “American” forms, during one of the most fascinating periods of

American history when new immigrants to America combined old world and new world forms to create

new “American” styles.

Born in Tsarist Russia, Balanchine survived the 1917 Revolution to make a career in America (1933-

83). He absorbed influences from the Russian Imperial ballet, but participated in the artistic ferment

surrounding the Russian revolution and, exiled to Paris, the modernist innovations of Diaghilev’s Russian

Ballet working with, among others, Picasso, Matisse, Prokofiev and his life long friend and compatriot,

Igor Stravinsky. Falling in love with America, he settled in New York City where he founded New York

City Ballet and created a stunning series of innovative dances for a new kind of American classical dancer

(including the first native American ballerina, Maria Tallchief and the African American dancer, Arthur

Mitchell.) But Balanchine was also a vital part of American popular culture, working in the Broadway

musical theater and Hollywood films. His work with jazz dancers Josephine Baker and The Nicholas

Brothers and composers George and Ira Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart influenced their development and

his own. We will examine not just Balanchine’s works but those he influenced: Jerome Robbins, Gene

Kelly, Fred Astaire, Twyla Tharp and others.

You do not have to have a dance background to do well in this course.

Posted by jmkirsch at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2013

University of Illinois Graduate Program in Slavic Languages and Literatures

Application Deadline: January 1, 2014

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) invites applications to our graduate program from students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic literatures and cultures. Qualified students beginning their graduate career at Illinois may be guaranteed as many as five years of financial support, including fellowships, teaching assistantships, summer support, research and graduate assistantships. We also welcome applicants who have completed an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures (or in related fields) elsewhere.

The Russian classics continue to play a vital role in our program, which is oriented toward students with interests in 18th- through 21st-century Russian literature and culture. But our Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures also emphasizes cultural studies approaches and other interdisciplinary work, and we offer a wide range of coursework and opportunities for individual concentrations, including: the languages, literatures and cultures of Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Bulgaria, as well as Yiddish. In addition to literary studies, our students work on theater; cinema and visual culture; translation theory, history and practice; critical theory; gender studies; cultural history and the arts. Interdisciplinary study is facilitated by our close ties with other campus units, in particular, the federally funded Russian, East European and Eurasian Center; the Program in Comparative & World Literature; the Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory; the Department of Gender & Women's Studies; the College of Media; and the Program in Jewish Culture and Society. Students may earn formal graduate minors or certificates from such units, or they may create their own minors to satisfy Ph.D. requirements.

The faculty of the UIUC Slavic department represent a broad range of interests and methodological approaches, including the intersections of literature with law, medicine, and psychoanalysis; Jewish Studies; gender, sexuality, and the body; empire and the Gothic; postcolonial studies; film history and theory; Czech revival culture; nationalism and literature; Polish exilic and émigré literature; and East European pop culture. We invite you to consult the listing of our faculty, their research interests, and their recent publications at:

The Slavic collection of the University of Illinois Library is the third largest in the country; that resource and our outstanding Slavic Reference Service attract researchers from all over the world, especially during the Summer Research Laboratory.

The Department has a vibrant atmosphere enhanced by the international character of the graduate student body. The Russian Studies Circle (kruzhok) brings together faculty and graduate students from a number of related units for informal discussions of works-in-progress, recently published books, and work by scholars visiting the Illinois campus; there is also an Eastern European Studies Circle, and annual graduate-faculty reading groups on many topics of interest. Our annual Graduate Student Conference--now a collaboration with the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago--professionalizes students and shares their work with faculty and students from Illinois and beyond. Illinois is rich with outstanding scholars and scholarly programming in allied fields (history, anthropology, sociology, law, music, and others). Our department also regularly hosts speakers and organizes or co-sponsors conferences. We participate actively in cross-campus and interdisciplinary initiatives; information about such events is archived on our website:

To learn more about the opportunities and resources at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, please visit our website:

To apply, visit

This year's application deadline is January 1, 2014. We will continue to consider applications after this date on a case-by-case basis, but late applicants are likely to have greatly diminished prospects for financial support.

For questions about our graduate program, please contact:

Prof. Valeria Sobol <>
Director of Graduate Studies

Prof. Michael Finke <>
Department Head
For questions about the application process, please contact:

Lynn Stanke <>
Graduate Student Services

Posted by jmkirsch at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)