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Like a Bomb Going OffLeonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia$
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Janice Ross

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207637

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207637.001.0001

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(p.241) Five Spartacus
Like a Bomb Going Off

Janice Ross

Yale University Press

This chapter describes “Spartacus”. This ballet by Yakobson is considered to be almost autobiographical in content. The ballet portrays the heroic struggle of Spartacus in a slave revolt. It effectively shows the development of Yakobson's work from the creation of a full length piece for the Kirov Ballet. The story in the ballet was shaped to advance Soviet propaganda during the early days of the war. The work sparked controversy and changed Yakobson's career. “Spartacus” was Yakobson's grandest manifesto as an artistic dissident. Internationally, the work proved to be a public humiliation, becoming the target of anti-Soviet feeling by American critics. However, in many ways “Spartacus” came to symbolize the shadier side of Cold War cultural diplomacy.

Keywords:   Spartacus, Kirov Ballet, Soviet propaganda, Cold War, cultural diplomacy

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