The Russian Ballet
THE RUSSIAN BALLET SURVIVED the Revolution in all its splendor and quaint charm. To many Russians the ballet was much more than a rare achievement in art; it was a link with the past, a vivid reminder of old Russia, an oasis of adored folklore in a desert of pain. To the lonely and the nostalgic who could never make peace with the Revolution the Ballet Theater was like a temple, where they could weep in the dark and pray for a miraculous return of their lost world.
Three evenings each week the magnificent troupe danced to the accompaniment of the Grand Philharmonic Orchestra. Later in the night the Cheka might knock at the door, but now inside the theater one could forget, if only for a while.
One of Lenin's first acts in October 1917 was to throw a protective shield around Russia's museums, churches, and institutions of science and art. With the help of idealists like Yenukidze, Lunacharsky, and others, he was able to check some of the party madmen bent on wrecking Russia's cultural heritage. In pursuance of his policy the Rights were always on the alert against extremists, who denounced everything reminiscent of the past and even wanted to convert the Russian theater into an instrument of propaganda.