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The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge LifarInterwar French Ballet and the German Occupation$
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Mark Franko

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197503324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197503324.001.0001

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Folklore and Parade from Jean Cocteau and Paul Valéry to André Varagnac

Folklore and Parade from Jean Cocteau and Paul Valéry to André Varagnac

The Resurgence of French Folkloric Studies

(p.129) 4 Folklore and Parade from Jean Cocteau and Paul Valéry to André Varagnac
The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge Lifar

Mark Franko

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects upon the commentary of two literary observers who were also in different ways practitioners of French ballet of the 1920s and 1930s—Jean Cocteau and Paul Valéry—and, of one anthropologist—André Varagnac—who developed the notion of folklore, and folkloric dance in particular as a form of popular innovation or, in other terms, an emergent rather than residual form. With all three, the notion of the popular in dance stood in implicit opposition to the academicism of Russian émigré critics in Paris—notably André Levinson and André Schaïkevitch—who advanced the idea of neoclassicism as the dominant form of dance in modernity. While the Russo-French neoclassicists emphasized the importance ballet’s exploration of its founding technical principles these French commentators had recourse instead to the historical notion of parade or sideshow. This chapter uncovers the dual face of neoclassicism, one formalist and idealist, the other populist. Both Cocteau and Valéry have significant connections with the popular, which I propose to elucidate through the notion of parade or sideshow.

Keywords:   parade, Jean Cocteau, Pierre Tugal, folkloric dance, Rolf de Maré, Marcel Mauss, Le rappel à l’ordre, Bronislava Nijinska, Paul Valéry André Varagnac

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