Jorge Donn in the Ballet "The Rite of Spring"


Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) took this photograph in 1978 during the Moscow tour of the Brussels-based Ballet of the Twentieth Century when it performed at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. It shows Jorge Donn (1947−1992) dancing the main role in the ballet The Rite of Spring, set to the music by Igor Stravinsky, and choreographed by Maurice Béjart (1927−2007). This ballet, first staged in 1959, played a crucial role in the career of the French choreographer. Its success encouraged him to found a new company and a contemporary dance theater, Ballet of the Twentieth Century. The company and its performances brought worldwide fame to Béjart. Creator of more than 100 ballets, dramas, and movies, Béjart was one of ballet titans of the 20th century. Donn joined the Ballet of the Twentieth Century in 1963 as a young dancer from Argentina, and Béjart credited him with helping to create a range of great ballets over a period of many years. Zhdanov, a Bolshoi dancer and then a professor of choreography for 50 years, was also a professional ballet photographer for most of his career. His pictures are spontaneous and capture on film the movements, moods, and emotions of the unposed dancers. The Reborn Art Foundation in Moscow holds this image and the rest of the Zhdanov archive.

Last updated: February 3, 2015