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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

Soviets, Socialists, and the Spartacus Ballet

Arden Laga, Utah Valley University

Russian choreographer Yuri Grigorovich in 1968 created a ballet in Soviet Russia that reflected and praised its communistic governmental leadership for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution by telling a Greek story about power, war, and victory. Critically analyzing this ballet titled “Spartacus” will show that this choreographic version was a form of propaganda to promote the Soviet political ideology and therefore Soviet culture during 1968. The post-modern critical theory of New Historicism will allow the ability to analyze the surrounding Russian culture and aid in understanding its influence of the production and movement choices found in the ballet. Analyzing “Spartacus” in this way will help see that this dance was used by the Soviet government to teach their belief to their people that Russia was the most powerful political force in the world during the Cold War. The methodology for this research paper will include a rigorous investigation of peer reviewed written source material as well as a focused critical analysis using Laban Movement Analysis, a system to analyze, interpret, and notate dance and movement, of a performance of Yuri Grigorovich’s “Spartacus”. This research concludes that the ballet “Spartacus”, through the story line and the movement, directly reflect the political culture and the political ideology of Soviet Russia in 1968.