michael j. morris

These Pleasures Instead of Others

Not being a believer in the concept of “should” or “should not,” I can hardly say that I should be doing other things. There is certainly work to get done that I am neglecting in favor of other pleasures. I am presenting a paper on the negotiation of gender in the choreography of Bronislava Nijinska at the 2009 Midwest Slavic Studies Conference in April, and that paper is still in need of revision. It will serve as a component of a panel in which I am participating entitled “Aspects of the Ballets Russes,” with colleague Hannah Kosstrin. 

There is also the work of the new solo I am choreographing entitled “Red Monster,” which I discussed in an earlier post. I am not sure when this piece will be premiered, but there is an adjudicated concert at OSU in June, and the adjudication is on 4 April. I may attempt to have the piece presentable by then.

But instead, I have given myself over to other pleasures. The pleasures of today include perusing the Fall Ready-to-Wear lines and reading Nico Muhly’s blog

I have recently become obsessed with Muhly’s music. I heard the soundtrack for The Reader and became smitten. Then I explored some of his earlier works, and today purchased Mothertongue in its entirety from iTunes. I recommend all of his work. It bounces around personal references like Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Arvo Pärt. Today, it is my only listening pleasure.

The Fall lines. I have to say, as always, I am mostly disappointed by the men’s lines (not to mention the larger philosophical objection to lines like “men” and “women”). I don’t know why it is that for the most part the bodies of men are somehow perceived and displayed as shapeless. I don’t know how anyone can examine the male form and come to the conclusion that it is composition of loosely tapered cylinders. Yet that seems to be implied by so many collections of jackets and coats and slacks. And there’s something else: the forms are all so . . . closed. Guarded. Shielded. Prada even made a comment about her line being about survival and strength. And I just want to shout, “It’s been done!” Men portrayed as strong survivors? groundbreaking. So I suppose I’ll begin by sharing the few pieces for men that struck me, then follow with the far more interesting women’s lines:


costume national





Oh, that was it for the men.
Onto women’s (also see previous post with a few images): 






christian lacroix


philip lim


philip lim




vera wang


vera wang


christian dior

So lovely. I should say that all images are from style.com

I hope you enjoy my pleasures for today. Perhaps I will begin to give attention to Nijinska and “Red Monster” this evening. Or perhaps tomorrow.

2 Comments so far
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There’s going to be some Ballets Russes stuff at the Harriman Center at Columbia University in NYC, sometime mid-April, I think, including student productions of Faune and Les Noces. I’d hoped to go but can’t make my schedule work for it.

I will be going to the Boston Ballet in May and at least one day of the BR 2009 conference at Boston University. The day I’ve scheduled includes a panel on BR choreographers Nijinsky, Nijinska, Fokine, Massine, and Balanchine. I’ve been obsessed with the BR and Nijinsky for about a year and I’m THRILLED! The only (minor) disappointment is that it won’t be Millicent Hodson’s recreation of Nijinsky’s Sacre du Printemps but you can’t have everything. Doesn’t keep me from wanting it, though.

I’d love to hear more about your Nijinska paper. I’m reading her autobiography now.

Comment by Judith

How exciting, Judith. I wish I could make it to the BR 2009 symposiums, etc., but it just doesn’t work with my school schedule. I do have colleagues who will be in attendance, so I hope to get some sort of perspective into what is presented.

Yes, Nijinsky has been an ongoing obsession with me as well.
Both he and Nijinska’s autobiographies were primary sources for my paper. Both truly fascinating.

The paper was originally entitled “The Negotiation of Gender in the Work of Nijinsky and Nijinska,” but for this conference I will be presenting a truncated version emphasizing the work of Nijinska. I am looking primarily at “Les Noces” and “Les Biches,” and how the social functions of gender were described, explored, exposed, and challenged in each. I would also like to discuss some of her performance work as well if there is time. She is the only woman I have ever heard of that performed the role of the Faun in “Faune,” among other travesty roles.

Thanks for reading/commenting!

Comment by morrismichaelj

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