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“The History of Dance” is available on the Presidential Library website

25 March 2015

On the eve of the International Day of Theatre, the Presidential Library updated its collections with a unique digital edition – a four-volume "The History of Dance" by Sergei Khudekov. The Library’s Director General Alexander Vershinin wrote about it on his page  in Facebook.

The Presidential Library is building up electronic collections of materials on the history of the Russian state, and “The History of Dance" certainly relates to the subject. Russian ballet, folk dances have absorbed all the diversity of cultures and customs, developing them into the original art.

This was discussed on the eve of the International Day of Theatre, when the Presidential Library representatives granted a digital copy of the four-volume "The History of Dance" to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. Rector of the Academy, People's Artist of Russia Nikolai Tsiskaridze stressed that now the students of the Academy have their own copy of the rarity. "The History of Dance" was a return gift of the Presidential Library to the Academy.

In 2014, the library was given the books related to the name of Russian choreographer Nicholas Legat to be digitized. The works "The Saga of Legate" by John Gregory and unique memoir of the dancer and teacher "The History of the Russian school" were published in Russia under the support to the rector of the Academy. Cooperation between the Presidential Library and the Academy will continue. Students of the oldest ballet school will be proposed tours to the library, and the two institutions will organize joint events in honor of the Year of Russian literature.

"The History of Dance" is a remarkable study of Sergei Khudekov, which was a unique person of his age. He was interested in everything and succeeded in all his undertakings. A well-known public figure, a member of the St. Petersburg City Council, a skilled manager of his estate, the founder of the arboretum in Sochi, as well as lawyer, historian of the ballet and playwright. His equally their Art historians and jurists, naturalists, journalists and playwrights – all believed him to belong to their circle. He wrote the libretto for the legendary "La Bayadere" which is still on the posters of the best theaters. "St. Petersburg newspaper" under his leadership was one of the most popular editions in the early 20th century. His collection of paintings by Russian artists, which he carefully collected for many years, was recognized by experts as one of the best in Russia.

Is it any wonder that as soon as Sergey began to study the history of dance, his work was doomed to success. His books tell about dance as an art born by civilization, which transmits the fullness of intellectual and physical development of people. Volumes cover the history of dance in Greece and Asia, Italy and America. One of the studies tells about the formation of the Russian ballet, which Khudekov knew as no one in Russia did. In the theatrical environment Khudekov was recognized as an unsurpassed ballet historian and feared as a severe critic of dancers. The renowned choreographer Marius Petipa and Sergey Khudekkov were good friends.

"The History of Dance" was published in 1913-1918 in the printing of "Petersburg newspaper." The last volume was almost completely destroyed by fire. Booksellers were hunting for rare surviving copies. But now, thanks to digitization, they are available to everyone on the website of the Presidential Library.