Mark Franko, Temple University
Folklore and Parade in French Interwar Dance
This talk reflects upon the commentary of two literary observers who were also in different ways practitioners of French ballet of the 1920s and 1930s -- Jean Cocteau and Paul Valéry – and one anthropologist – André Varagnac – the latter having developed an idea of folklore, and folkloric dance in particular as a form of popular innovation. With all three, the notion of the popular in dance stood in opposition to the academicism of Russian émigré critics in Paris, notably André Levinson and André Schaïkevitch, who fostered the idea of neoclassicism as the dominant form of ballet modernity. While the classicists emphasized the importance to the art’s renewal of the ballet’s founding technical principles, the most original French commentators had recourse instead to the historical notion of parade or sideshow.
Mark Franko is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Dance at Temple University. This talk previews his forthcoming book: The Fascist Turn in the Dance of Serge Lifar: French Interwar Dance and the German Occupation (Oxford University Press). Dr. Franko was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018-2019. Recent publications include Choreographing Discourses: A Mark Franko Reader (London: Routledge, 2019) co-edited with Alessandra Nicifero and Danzar el Modernismo/Actuar la Política (Buenos Aires y Madrid: Miño y Dávila). He is the founding editor of the Oxford Studies in Dance Theory book series.