Negative Reconstruction (Should We Resist?)

“Exotic ballets may have been massively popular in their day – “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” was performed more than 100 times during Petipa’s lifetime. But when they die, shouldn’t we take that as a sign? “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” was buried in 1928. The Soviets must have been embarrassed by its celebration of grandeur built on the backs of slaves. Shouldn’t we be, too? Or, as with Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” does a vein of gold pulse beneath the dumb surface? This is a huge question for our major classical ballet companies, which have the resources to consider reconstructions, “imaginative” or otherwise.”