Tag Archives: Vaslav Nijinsky


Carl Van Vechten made Harlem real to me…. [He] found the natural flair, the talent for rhythm and expressiveness, the joy, the fire, the murder, and the verbal accuracy in the vernacular in the day-to-day life….To us, Harlem was far more an arrondissement of Paris than a battleground of Greater New York. It was the Harlem of Josephine Baker….open and welcoming to Miguel Covarrubias, to Muriel Draper, and to all writers and artists who recognized in its shadows the only true elegance in America….

“Carl was the first person who told me how Nijinsky danced, in such a manner and with such intensity that I often used his description later as a personal lie, pretending to have experienced this dancer, who, in real life, I had never seen. Yet, somehow, I never, at least to myself, felt myself a liar. I had merely used Carl’s eyes.”

— from: Lincoln Kirstein, “Carl Van Vechten: 1880–1964,” in By With To & From: A Lincoln Kirstein Reader, ed. Nicholas Jenkins (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991), 31–37.

Writer, editor, arts patron, and entrepreneur Lincoln Kirstein (1907–1996)—a neo-classical modernist—was the founder of the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art (a direct antecedent to the Museum of Modern Art), and co-founder—with George Balanchine—of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet.

Carl Van Vechten—court photographer for the Harlem Renaissance and Manhattan’s literati and performing arts worlds throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s—was also a dance critic, novelist, and Gertrude Stein’s literary executor.

See Martin Duberman, The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); and Edward White, The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014).

From top: Walker Evans, Lincoln Kirstein, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1928; Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1937.


“My interest lies in the choreographic force of knowledge attuned to the body, sensation, and emotion. Charged with a subtle energy, my performances are set within theatrical environments designed to encourage the viewer’s perceptual and intellectual participation. I work to harmonize memory and the senses so that we can see, touch, and make sense of the stuff that comprises us, has conditioned us. Through performed catharsis and joyous surrender, I dance.” — Nickels Sunshine*

This week at REDCAT, performance artist Nickels Sunshine presents TAKE ME WITH YOU—a non-gender-conforming homage to Nijinsky and Martha Graham—as part of Week Two of the New Original Works Festival 2017. Nickels will be performing with Barry Brannum, Bernard Brown, Maya GingeryJmy James Kidd, and Alexx Shilling.

TAKE ME WITH YOU will be followed by Tales Between Our Legs’ multimedia piece A DISMAL GLIMPSE AT A SCRIPT WE CREATE TO KEEP US MOVING FORWARD, and Vivian Bang’s performance documentary on Korean-Americans and the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles, CAN YOU HEAR ME/L A 92. (Coincidentally, the subject of a recent 90x90LA event, as well as Justin Chon’s new film Gook, out August 18).

NICKELS SUNSHINE—TAKE ME WITH YOU, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 3, 4, and 5. All shows at 8:30 pm.

REDCAT, DISNEY HALL, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.



Nickels Sunshine. All images coutesy of Nickels Sunshine and REDCAT.



Lisa Wahlander 3