Bronislava Nijinska


Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962). Les Noces, Costume design reproduction, 1924. Ink on tracing paper. Howard D. Rothschild Collection. pf MS Thr 414.4 (61). Bequest, 1989.

Costume design by Natalia Goncharova for a group of dancers in the opera-ballet Les Noces

Whenever a theatrical drawing is made on tracing paper, as this one is, the assumption is that it is probably a copy, made for re-use in some other theatre or by another company. It is assumed that this rendering was made by tracing the outlines of an original drawing, and that its purpose was for book illustration, very likely in a souvenir program. It could be suggested that the drawing, by showing a posed arrangement of dancers, indicates that Gontcharova was exerting an influence beyond the strict province of costume designer, and entered into the territory of staging. But there is no proof that the drawing was made prior to the composition of the choreography, so it may simply reflect Nijinska’s staging.