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Grant number like: FT-265453-19

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Nicole Svobodny
Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO 63130-4899)
The Feeling Mind: A Study of Russian Dancer Vaslav Nijinsky's St. Moritz Notebooks (1917-1919)

Research and writing leading to publication of a book about the personal notebooks of Polish-Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950).

What happens when “the greatest male dancer of all time” stops dancing and sits down to write? What are the physical and cognitive processes involved? My project addresses these questions through an examination of the personal notebooks kept by Vaslav Nijinsky when he was cut off from the Ballets Russes, right before his catastrophic breakdown in 1919. These notebooks contain handwritten words in Russian (the diary), ink and pencil drawings, and drafts for a dance notation system. My book is the first in-depth study of the original Russian manuscript. Drawing on extensive archival research, I consider the writing in the post-war context and in relation to Nijinsky’s isolation and diagnosis of schizophrenia, his engagement with past literary masters, his live performances, and his other attempts to explore and “to fix" movement through the creation of visual art and dance notation. My study concludes with an investigation into the transnational migration of Nijinsky’s notebooks.

Project fields:
Arts, General; Dance History and Criticism; Slavic Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/17/2019 – 8/17/2019