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World, meet ballet

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By Kelly LeVan

Never heard of the Ballets Russes? Lonide Massine? Bronislava Njinska? Alexandra Danilova? Alicia Markova?Unless you are a dancer, chances are you haven’t. The choreographers and prima ballerinas – legends in the ballet world – are not exactly household names in 21st century America.However, in the 1940s, they were stars.Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller’s “Ballets Russes” (2005), screening at 7 p.m. Thursday at the UNM-LA Student Center, travels back in time to a period when ballet companies, stranded by the war, created unparalleled excitement in small-town America.People queued around the block to see the newest ballet by Massine, especially his symphonic ballets. His “Les Prsages,” set to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, was the first-ever ballet choreographed to a symphony, and while the critics found the idea impure and appalling, audiences loved the result.Fans also adored individual ballerinas much the way we do film actors today.


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