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Thursday, April 27, 2017

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'Lost ballet' exhibition on display through Sept. 25

The exhibition "'Le Pas d'Acier' ('The Steel Step'): Re-Creating a Lost Ballet" will be on display at the Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts in Firestone Library through Sept. 25.

Organized in connection with the campus performance April 7-9 of Sergei Prokofiev's "Le Pas d'Acier," the exhibition includes a model reconstruction of the ballet's set created by theater historian Lesley-Anne Sayers and photographs and drawings of the original 1927 production. The gallery also showcases photographs, children's books, costume designs and program covers from the period drawn from the holdings of the library's special collections.

The Princeton production is represented by photographs documenting the re-creation process, costume designs, choreographic drawings by ballet reconstructionist Millicent Hodson, and a costume and props used in the April performances.

"Le Pas D'Acier" was written as a celebration of Soviet industrialization that Prokofiev hoped would endear him to Russian authorities. But budget constraints and a change in choreographers led to a scaled-down version of the ballet being performed in Paris in 1927 by the Ballets Russes. That production mocked industrial development instead of lauding it, causing a political scandal. Prior to the Princeton performance, the work had not been performed since 1931.

For three years, associate professor of music Simon Morrison led a team to re-create the ballet as it was originally conceived. They brought the ballet to life exactly the way Prokofiev intended it in three performances at the University's Berlind Theatre.

Paula D. Matthews, music librarian and curator of the exhibition, will give tours at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; Sunday, Sept. 18; and Sunday, Sept. 25.

Hours for the exhibition, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, are: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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