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Elizabeth Kendall

Elizabeth Kendall is a writer and dance critic/journalist based in New York, and a professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College of New School University.  She has written two cultural histories (on the birth of American modern dance and Hollywood 1930’s romantic comedies), and two memoirs, the second of which, Autobiography of a Wardrobe, emerged in paperback in 2009.  

She is working on a book about George Balanchine’s childhood and youth (1904-24) in St. Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad, about his talented classmate and friend, LidiiaIvanova, who drowned (or was murdered) in 1924, and about the survival of the aristocratic art of ballet during the upheaval of the Russian revolution, civil war and the NEP.  While in Petersburg, she consulted with local researchers, met with culture and political historians at the Anna Akhmatova Museum and the Museum of Political History, returned to a variety of historical archives, and made her first visit to the newly housed RGIA (Russian Government Historical Archive), closed for some years during its move out of the central city.

«It can be lonely, searching in Russian archives for the details needed to make a good, rich historical narrative. What the Likhachev Foundation offered - besides discussion forums, invaluable help with logistics, and a wonderful hotel room - was a community of St. Petersburg scholars, writers, cultural experts and city afficionados.  Interaction with this community (as well as with the other American fellows on their own searches) made for the most exhilarating and productive professional experience I’ve had in many years.  Some Russians I’ve met In the course of my workhave been suspicious of foreigners who study their culture.  The Likhachev Foundation stands for the opposite point of view:  they want to share their city and its culture with the world – and the world will be richer for it.  Such an open-minded, intelligent, and forward-looking attitude in the new Russia proved very moving to this American».