Int. : Lydia Lopokova. Prod.: Pathé Frères Cinema. 35mm. L.: 26 m. 18 f/s. Bn
This short documentary is a study of the ballerina Lydia Lopokova dancing in a crinoline dress. Her dancing style is captured via three different cinematic techniques: first in real time, followed by a repeat in slow-motion and finally in double exposure within a picture frame. Lydia Lopokova was born 1891 in Russia and trained by Agrippina Vaganova at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg. She joined the Ballets Russes of Diaghilev in 1910, toured to much acclaim in the US and, again with the Ballets Russes, appeared as principal dancer alongside Massine and Nijinsky. According to Margot Fonteyn: “Although a demi-caractère dancer, she could also shine in the purely classical roles because of her strong technique, extreme lightness in jumping, and stylistic sensitivity.” Lopokova was much admired for her exuberant gaiety and comic gifts, both on and off stage, but Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and most of the Bloomsbury Group were upset when one of their circle, brilliant economist John Maynard Keynes, fell in love with the dancer in 1921. They got married in 1925. Lydia Lopokova created her last ballet role in 1933 for the new Vic-Wells ballet. She was much involved in founding the Cambridge Arts Theatre and helping a national English ballet company to come into being.