The Diary of Nijinsky
The Diary of Nijinsky research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?
“Great gifts are the fairest and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang on the weakest branches, which easily break”. This profound observation by psychiatrist Carl Jung seems an extraordinarily apt description of Vaslav Nijinsky with regard to both his artistic strengths and his psychological weaknesses. During a six and one-half week period in 1919, this gifted Russian ballet dancer filled four simple school notebooks with his philosophy, poetry, hopes, fears, and psychotic delusions. Though not a diary in the usual sense of the word, “The Diary of Nijinsky” offers the reader an enlightening yet disturbing portal into the mind of one of the world’s greatest dancers. The content is perhaps unique as a contemporaneous, autobiographical chronicle of one man’s descent into insanity.
Nijinsky was born in Kiev to Polish parents circa 1889. Both his mother and his father were themselves dancers, and they were Vaslav’s first dance teachers. The young dancer made his professional debut at the age of seven in a touring circus. When his father abandoned the family, young Nijinsky’s mother chosen St. Petersburg as a new home for herself and her three children. This was fortunate for the budding ballet star, who enrolled in the Imperial Theatrical School at the age of nine. Though he did not excel at academic endeavors, his extraordinary talent in ballet was immediately obvious to his instructors there. Upon completion of schoolwork at the age of eighteen, Nijinsky was accepted by St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet at a higher rank than most tyros. His relatively brief but nonetheless illustrious career as a ballet star and choreographer had begun.
Within the subculture of the ballet in Russia, it was not at all uncommon for young male dancers to be introduced to older male “patrons” who supported them financially in exchange for sexual favors. Though Nijinsky’s mother believed that a traditional marriage might be damaging to his career, she fully supported his arranged liaison with Prince Pavel Lvov, which began within a year of his entrance into the Imperial Ballet. The relationship was short-lived, however, and Lvov made the introductions required for a subsequent arrangement between Nijinsky and Servei Pavlovitch Diaghilev, an influential icon of the art and entertainment world. This liaison proved very beneficial to the dancer as he was soon showcased in the Ballets Russes, a permanent ballet company of unprecedented renown.