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June 2, 2006


Russia is enormous. It spans eleven time zones. At the astonishing Yussopov Palace on the Moika, along with the rooms filled with Italian or French art and furniture, there is a phenomenal Moorish room filled with magnificent tile work and flanked by two porcelain busts of a Moorish woman and man. It is analagous to the same fascination of the time in France or England. But when in Russia, the Orientalism of ballets like La Bayadère or even the Chinese dance in The Nutcracker took on different shadings. It felt more complicated – imagine if our ballets had Mexican dances in them. They aren’t just talking about exotic far away places; they’re talking about their neighbors and their frontier.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 2, 2006 6:11 AM

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