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Finding Aid of the Grell/Colefax Collection on Russian Ballet 0315
0315  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists of films, books, photographs, sound recordings, posters, costumes, and artwork related to Russian ballet, chiefly the Bolshoi Ballet Company. Collected by Los Angeles resident Dwight Grell from the early 1950s through the 2000s. Many of the materials are in Russian. This collection represents a broad range of subjects: Russian and Soviet Dance; choreography and costume design; and Russian and Soviet culture, including popular culture, as reflected in programs, print materials, and photographs.
Background
The Bolshoi Ballet, founded in 1776 and established at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1825, made its first appearance in the West in 1956, at the Royal Opera House in London; 1959 marked its first tour to the United States. The time frame that forms the focus of the Grell/Colefax Collection on Russian Ballet, 1950-2000, has seen three chief choreographers: Leonid Lavrovsky (1944-1964), Yuri Grigorovich (1964-1995), and Vladimir Vasiliev (1995-2000); in 2000, Boris Akimov took on this role, which he held until 2003. Grigorovich also succeeded Lavrovsky as artistic director of the company, a position he held until his replacement by Vasiliev. Important dancers in the company include Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Raisa Struchkova, Yuri Zhdanov, Nikolai Fadeyechev, Vladimir Vasiliev, Mikhail Lavrovsky, Maris Liepa, Natalia Bessmertnova, Ekaterina Maximova, Nina Timofeyeva, Nina Sorokina, Nina Ananiashvili, Irek Mukhamedov, Andris Liepa, Ludmila Semenyaka, Nadezhda Pavlova, and Nina Semizorova, among others.Dwight Grell was born in Los Angeles, California to a family of modest means. A music lover as a youth, he was 17 years old when he attended his first ballet--a performance of Sleeping Beauty with Margot Fonteyn at the Shrine Auditorium--and subsequently saw ballet films in 1957 featuring Russian dancers, including Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya, in performance. His interest sparked, especially by the Bolshoi Ballet, whose work he prized for what he describes as their "dynamic" and "powerful" style of dance, Grell went to see the company during its first U.S. tour in 1959, an event that was to change his life. Even as he worked in a button factory, Grell attended every performance he could, and began collecting programs, posters, and photographs, as well as asking for autographs; indeed, as he states, the Grell/Colefax Russian Ballet Archive began in 1959 when Grell acquired a small autographed photograph of Plisetskaya dancing the role of Zarema in the Fountain of Bakchisirai. In 1962, he began creating his first rudimentary exhibitions, and in 1963, Raisa Struchkova gave Grell an autographed pair of her ballet slippers--his first. From that point on, Grell began asking performers if he could have slippers from various performances.
Extent
200.0 Linear feet 199 boxes
Restrictions
The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
Availability
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access. Consult finding aid for additional information.