Page:The Art of Nijinsky.djvu/33

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cosmopolitan as distinct from a merely native art.

The love of dancing is no doubt spontaneous among the Russian peasantry, and always has been. But the development of this natural impulse into art dates, for all practical purposes, from the patronage of the Empress Anna Ivanovna, who, in the year 1735, appointed a Neapolitan composer and a French ballet-master to preside over her newly instituted Dramatic School. Catherine II worthily carried on the work. A second theatre was established in Moscow, and the whole organisation was placed on a firm basis of relation with the bureaucratic régime. Throughout the eighteenth century the Russian Imperial Ballet must have maintained and, little by little, strengthened its position; although it was France, with dancers like Noverre and the great immi-