Fedor Lopukhov and The Bolt

Alexandra Chiriac

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This essay focuses on the choreographer Fedor Lopukhov, giving a brief overview of his career and examining his work on the ballet The Bolt, scored by Shostakovich. A pioneering figure of Soviet ballet and a strong influence on the young George Balanchine, Lopukhov fell in and out of favour with the regime several times which led to his choreographic work being unfairly forgotten. The Bolt for instance was struck off the repertoire after only one performance in April 1931. Lopukhov’s innovative choreography, which fused cabaret and music hall styles with classical ballet, physical culture and even acrobatics offended the increasing traditional tastes of the Stalinist regime. Although the choreography itself has been lost, the essay attempts to recover its key themes by examining a collection of photographs which show the rehearsals of The Bolt and which are housed in the archives of the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. Lopukhov’s visionary amalgamation of modern artistic trends with classical ballet concepts and his numerous collaborations with experimental designers and composers deserve to be better know.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-256
JournalStudies in Theatre and Performance
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Lopukov
  • Ballet
  • Choreography
  • Russia
  • Avant-garde
  • The Bolt


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