Papers: Lisa Fusillo & Tanya Evidente | Moderator: Lisa Smith

Dancing Through Artistic Boundaries – Parade and the Surrealist Movement

Lisa Fusillo, Professor
University of Georgia, Georgia, USA

Abstract: The avant-garde artists in the early part of the 20th century, continually pushed the boundaries of established art movements, which lead to explosions in abstraction.  Often arts movements began in music, art and/or literature, however in one particular instance, for one moment in history, a ballet sparked the development of new artistic genre that was, from its inception, called surrealism.

Celebrating the centennary of the ballet “Parade”, this paper postulates that “Parade” was the first surrealist work of art and defined the surrealist movement.  Challenging the accepted convention of art historians that surrealism was founded in 1924 with André Breton’s manifesto and journal, this paper will argue that the collaborative invention in “Parade”, produced by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1917, preceded the established/accepted timeline and authorship of the movement.

“Parade” was one of the most important and innovative performance art works of the 20th century.  The sound score included a typewriter, fog horn, and gun shot, and costumes took on visual absurdity with an oversized cardboard horse and twelve-foot high sculptures.  The ballet was cornucopia of scenes and characters caught in a visual warp between everyday life and subliminal manipulations of logic.  This paper will trace Pablo Picasso’s evolution into the cubist costume designs, the eccentricity of Erik Satie’s quirky musical score, and how Léonide Massine’s unconventional movement reflected the social and political climate.  Evidence will be provided to support the argument that “Parade” defined the surrealist movement in the arts and made a global impact on the art world.

Lisa A. Fusillo began her professional training at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and later trained in New York, London, Russia and Denmark.  She holds the Professional Teaching Diploma from the Royal Ballet School in London; teaching and performance certifications from the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing – Cecchetti Society; and holds certifications from the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and the New York City Ballet Education Department. Her choreography has been presented in Europe, Asia and at the International Ballet Competition (Jackson). Fusillo is a Fulbright Scholar and has published articles on Léonide Massine, Charles Weidman, and dance in American musical theatre.  She is the recipient of four National Endowment for the Arts grants, is the founder/director of Dance Repertory Project, and is on the dance faculty at the University of Georgia.

Defining Contemporary Ballet: A Study of James Kudelka’s Themes, Artistic Collaborations, Vocabulary and Creative Process

Tanya Evidente, Assistant Professor
Ryerson University, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: The National Ballet of Canada has the largest number of choreographic works created by its former artistic director, James Kudelka. Kudelka trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and danced professionally with the National Ballet of Canada and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He became the first ‘homegrown’ director of the National Ballet of Canada who’s mastery of both classical and modern/contemporary works has earned him commissions from 25 companies throughout North America: San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Ballet Met among others. This paper will discuss Kudelka’s significant contribution to the history of ballet in Canada and how his works defined what contemporary ballet means to the National Ballet and other ballet companies across Canada. It is part of a larger research project that seeks to create an archival record of his work both at home and internationally and to contribute to the discussion around how we talk about contemporary ballet in Canada. Kudelka’s narrative themes, rich technical vocabulary of movement and strong emphasis on artistic collaboration with dancers, designers and musicians are all crucial factors of his creative process and integral to the legacy of his contribution to the world of ballet. His work continues to influence contemporary ballet repertoire both in Canada and the U.S and would carry substantial weight in conversations about the genre.

Tanya Evidente is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Ryerson University, School of Performance. She teaches classical ballet and mentors all four-year dance students in the program. She is a producer and the rehearsal director for the dance program. Ms. Evidente has danced professionally with La Joven Guardia, Ballet Nacional de Cuba including prestigious ballet companies in Spain and Canada. Ms. Evidente was an artist with the National Ballet of Canada under artistic directors James Kudelka and Karen Kain. Ms. Evidente holds an M.A in Dance from York University. Her research interest is centred on the choreographic documentation and archival recordings of Canadian leading ballet and modern choreographer, James Kudelka. As an active member in the dance community, she participates in panel discussions and presents her research at various conferences. Ms. Evidente also serves as Secretary for the World Dance Alliance – Americas.

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