Sunday, October 27, 2013

Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky & company visit Chaplin during the filming of EASY STREET, 1917

Nijinsky is next to Chaplin (with his arm around him). Other familiar faces include: Eric Campbell (behind and to the left of Nijinsky), Edna Purviance (center, front), and John Rand (far left). The photo is inscribed to R.G. Herndon who was the manager of the Ballet Russes. 

Chaplin described Nijinsky as "a serious man, beautiful looking, with high cheekbones and sad eyes, who gave the impression of a monk in civilian clothes....I have seen few geniuses in the world, and Nijinsky was one of them."

Nijinsky watched Chaplin at work for two days.* He never laughed but sat behind the camera "looking sadder and sadder." "Nevertheless," Chaplin wrote, "at the end of each day he would compliment me. 'Your comedy is balletique, you are a dancer,' he said."

Chaplin paid homage to Nijinsky's legendary performance of L'Apres-midi d'un Faune during his dance with the wood nymphs in Sunnyside (1919).

*In My Autobiography, Chaplin remembered incorrectly that Nijinsky watched while he was filming The Cure.

4 comments:

  1. Reading about this encounter, i have found this information. Have you heard about it? (The Nijinsky issue):
    http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/17788


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    1. Hi Diana,
      Yes, David Robinson covers it extensively in his new book FOOTLIGHTS/WORLD OF LIMELIGHT.

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  2. How interesting! thanks Jessica!

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    1. You're welcome. Evidently there were a number of versions of the dancer story, which was originally intended as a vehicle for Paulette, even though the main character was a male dancer.

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