Léonide Massine


Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962). Lithurgie, Costume design for an Apolstle, 1915. Charcoal and pencil. George Chaffée Collection. Gift, 1949.


Léonid Massine (1896-1979). Lithurgie, Authograph manuscript containing choreographic notations, character sketches, and other notations, 1915. f MS Thr 506. Purchased with the Howard D. Rothschild Fund, 2002.


Léonide Massine’s first essay in choreography for Diaghilev was Lithurgie, a dramatization of the Russian Orthodox eucharist liturgy. After Stravinsky declined to provide the music, holding that the idea was irreverent, Massine determined to accompany the dancers with only the sound of the dancers’ stamping feet and clapping hands, whereupon Diaghilev cancelled plans to present it. By that time, however, the work had entered rehearsals, and Natalia Goncharova had already designed some or all of the costumes.