Page:The Art of Nijinsky.djvu/32

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NIJINSKY

with a tradition of art unequalled for strength and self-consistency. Never, indeed, has genius been more happy in its education than Nijinsky's. Never has it come upon the scene at a moment more opportune for its fruition. Only the very briefest résumé of the history of the ballet in Russia will be enough to make this clear.

Just as the beginnings of the modern literary movement in Russia are traceable, through Pouchkine, to the European and particularly to the French culture of the eighteenth century, so the art of the dance was originally borrowed by Russia from Italy, its first authentic home. Russian Ballet, then, is essentially one with a main trend of European expression, and, although certainly modified by the national character, is, by its very antecedents, perfectly fitted to take its place among the arts of a

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