Ballets Russes and Blackface
Järvinen, Hanna (2020)
Cambridge University Press; Dance Studies Association
Järvinen, H. (2020). Ballets Russes and Blackface. Dance Research Journal, 52(3), 76-96. doi:10.1017/S0149767720000352
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Prompted by Achille Mbembe's reading of how racial assignation functions, this article examines the recurrences of two blackface ballet characters, the Golden Slave in Schéhérazade and the Blackamoor in Petrouchka, on twentieth and twenty-first-century dance stages, in exhibits, research, and pedagogy. The company that first performed these racist stereotypes, the Ballets Russes, has been canonized as crucial to the emergence of modernism in the performing arts more generally, although consistently Orientalized in the process. The designation of works revolving around racist stereotypes as “masterpieces,” and their constant reiteration, amounts to complicity with racism that is not limited to ballet stages.