Photograph of Bronislava Nijinska, Olga Khohlova, and Lubov Tchernicheva in L’Après-Midi d’un Faune, n.d. Music Div., Library of Congress.
Music by Claude Debussy; libretto based on a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé; sets and costumes by Léon Bakst; choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky; premiere on 29 May 1912, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. Nijinsky’s stark and erotic choreography was criticized by the Parisian press as obscene. Dancer and actress Ida Rubinstein agreed to perform the role of the Nymph but, after only one rehearsal, she was indignant about the choreography and refused to participate in the ballet. Later, Rubinstein related her reasons. “Nijinsky wanted the impossible. If I had submitted to his direction I would have dislocated every joint in my body and would have been transformed into a maimed marionette!”