Twentieth Century Ballet

Alexander Gorsky

The Bolshoi Ballet Company in Moscow was revitalized when Alexander Gorsky became the director of the Company in 1900 and worked to revive The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. He also strived to involve the corps de ballet more in the action on stage, rather than having them stand on the side frozen in lines as Petipa’s choreography was known for. He was criticized for this, however, as many claimed that it demonstrated disorganization on stage.

Below is an excerpt from Don Quixote, featuring Gorsky's staging. Although the corps does not participate in all action, the dancers are not merely standing in straight lines on either side of the stage, as Petipa's choreography reflected [refer back to the Swan Lake video for a better comparison]. Towards the end of this video, the corps has a substantial amount of action on the back of the stage, behind the leads. By including the corps de ballet more in the action of the ballet, Gorsky was able to increase their importance and purpose of being on stage.