12 March 2019

12th March 1890 - Vaslav Nijinsky is Born

Vaslav Nijinsky, was born on 12th March 1890 in Ukraine to Polish parents, both of them dancers. He joined the Imperial Russian Ballet School at aged nine. Then joined The Russian Ballet, a new group led by the impressario Diaghilev. They were a sensation as they toured western Europe, and Nijinsky was seen as a super-human who embodied and transformed whatever role he was playing. His leaps were gravity defying.

He went on to choreograph dances but things between Diaghilev and Nijinsky turned sour after Nijinsky married, and Nijinsky set out on his own. He was both exacting and found it difficult to communicate his ideas, being very introverted, and the venture was not a great success. The endless trivialities of running a business did not go well with the instinctive artist. During WWI he was interned, and after being released the legendary dancer became troubled mentally; he was haunted by images of the war and dead soldiers which he tried to re-create in dance, telling people this is the war you did nothing to prevent, so for which you are responsible. After that, he retreated into a world of his own, and then spent most of the rest of his life in a psychiatric institution - diagnosed as Schizophrenic.

Around the time of the breakdown he wrote a diary. He also produced paintings that seem to have balletic curves, often with watching eyes. In the institutions he was locked in his own world, and showed little of the spark that in earlier days had transformed that same body into the greatest dancer of the early twentieth century. He died in 1950.

For further biographical information see Wikipedia. Thankyou to Wikipedia 12th March for the date

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