BalletRusses is a documentary about a twentieth-century ballet dance groupwhich was mainly composed of refugees who were from Russia but livedin France. The revolutionary dance group as seen through the evidencepresented by the documentary made tours to several places includingAmerica to showcase their dance skills as well as entertain audiencesfrom various parts of the world. The main artist featured by theBallet Russes is Sergei Diaghilev. He conceived the idea of theBallet Russes. Other artists featured included Vera Karalli, AnnaPavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Adolph Bolm and Tamara Karsavina.

BalletRusses collaborated with various artists such as Claude Debussy, IgorStravinsky, and Sergei Prokofiev, who were mainly composers. Theyalso collaborated with costume designers such as the famous CocoChannel and also Leon Bakst. Among the painting artists theycollaborated with was Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky.


Thesalient features of the artist’s technique and movement in BalletRusses. Diaghilev had a passion for talent and he was never confinedto traditions. He directed and encouraged the Ballet Russes to usetheir freedom of movement rather than sticking to the classicalmovement techniques in when dancing. According to him movement shouldbe from within the dancer’s body and is expressed by the whole bodynot only the limbs. This approach encouraged a lot of flexibility inthe dancers’ movements. Michel Fokine and Vaslav Nijinsky weretheir most instrumental choreographers. Their ballet dances weremainly filled with very elaborate costumes which went in line withthe theme of their specific dances.


Theexistence of the Ballet Russes was in itself a redefinition of theballet world at the time. The choreographers especially Nijinsky hadrevolutionary styles that were somewhat sexual. The dancers looked atthe subject matter for inspiration. The historic time the dancerswere in for instance the revolution in Russia played a role in thedances the troupe carried out. Another thing that had an influence intheir dances was the emotions they were experiencing at the time:love, jealousy, and vengeance. Some of their works which moved to themodern world included Firebird,Faune,even their style of one-act ballet is still functional in modernballet.


Thisfilm Ballet Russes (2006) is very inspirational in the sense that nodance style is cast in stone and anyone at any time can revolutionizethem, just the same way Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes did. I willgive this video a 4- star rating basing on the way the truth of theBallet Russes is presented.

Butoh:Piercing the Mask

Thisdocumentary is about a post-World War II Japanese dance. Thiscosmological dance emerged during a time where there was rampantcultural revolution during which many artists were beginning to drawaway from traditional cultural Japanese dances. This dance laid ahuge emphasis on its artists’, Japanese ethnicity.

Themain artists of Butoh piercing the mask were Tatsumi Hijikata andKazuo Ono. They were the first persons who conceived the idea ofhaving a dark dance such as Butoh, piercing the mask. Other artistsincluded Dairakudan and Hakutobo. They had no collaborators and theirdances were mainly performed without music or in silence.


Theirdance techniques and features were unlike those of traditionalJapanese dances. They were comprised of extreme and taboo dancemovements which ventured more into the concealed and dark humanemotions. A fact to also consider as derived from the documentary isthat the artists for this type of Butoh dance were to a large extentinspired an influenced by the Dadaism and Surrealism poetry as wellas cosmological darkness. Their major aim was to create a moreauthentic and unique type of Butoh. They also drew their inspirationfrom the surrounding nature and their own imaginations.


Itis interesting that during the particular historical period whenButoh was conceived, many dance artists were very keen in gettingtheir dance movements westernized but Butoh artists decided not toflow with the current but to create something unique instead.According to Butoh, it was of more importance to focus on thespirituality of the dance than to focus on the dance techniques. Asit is evidenced by Butoh(1991) theirmovement vocabularies reflected taboo practices such as sexualpassions, physically and mentally crippled movements.


Onedistinct feature about their performances is that they painted theirbodies white and would at times dance naked. I would give thisdocumentary and the dance a 4-star rating. The reason is that thedance is so artistic and profound, sending out a strong message tothe audience. It is not only entertaining but inspirational as well.


BalletRusses. (2006). Retrieved from


Butoh:Piercing the Mask. (1991). Retrieved from