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Albion's DanceBritish Ballet during the Second World War$
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Karen Eliot

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347629

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347629.001.0001

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The British Ballet and Its Critics at the Onset of War

The British Ballet and Its Critics at the Onset of War

Chapter:
(p.7) 1 The British Ballet and Its Critics at the Onset of War
Source:
Albion's Dance
Author(s):

Karen Eliot

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347629.003.0002

This chapter examines competing narratives about the birth of British ballet. The chapter then looks at contributions of dance critics and historians who created these narratives and who advocated the growth of a uniquely British classical ballet. Balletomanes contributed to ballet’s survival during wartime isolation through their published dance criticism and active engagement in the field. Critics including Cyril Beaumont, Arnold Haskell, and P. J. S. Richardson helped to create an environment where ballet could thrive and widen its popularity during and after the war. Richardson’s Dancing Times kept communication alive among members of the dance community, and substantial numbers of dance books were published in spite of shortages of paper and manpower. Some regarded the resultant dance boom warily: they welcomed ballet’s increased popularity but worried about a lessening of critical standards as uninitiated audiences developed interest in dance, and, they thought, lowered the artistic levels established by Diaghilev.

Keywords:   balletomanes, dance critics, Cyril Beaumont, Arnold Haskell, P. J. S. Richardson, Dancing Times, history and tradition of ballet in Great Britain, dance boom

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