and Vera Vokin, Russian court dancers, in the ballet "Scherezade."
was positively uninterested in the dance."
Bernays took on Diaghilev's Ballet Russes American tour in 1915,
he wrote, "I was given a job about which I knew nothing. In
fact, I was positively uninterested in the dance." He wasn't
alone. Americans thought masculine dancers were deviates, and that
"dancing was not nice," and of limited interest.
began to connect ballet to something people understood and enjoyed.
"First, as a novelty in art forms, a unifying of several arts;
second, its appeal to special groups; third, its direct impact on
American life, on design and color in American products; and fourth,
with newspapers, Bernays developed a four-page newsletter for editorial
writers, local managers and others, containing photographs and stories
of dancers, costumes, and composers. Articles were targeted to his
four themes and audiences. For example, the "women's pages"
received articles on costumes, fabric, and fashion design; the Sunday
supplements received full-color photos.
Bakst creation for Dance Guerriere Caucasienne.
American men ashamed to be graceful?
coverage, timed to appear just before the ballet opened, was his
next approach. Bernays tailored his stories to his editors. When
Ladies Home Journal said that they couldn't show photographs
of dancers with skirts above the knees, he had artists retouch photos
to bring down the hem. His abilities to understand editors' needs
resulted in wide coverage: The American Hebrew, Collier's, Craftsman,
Every Week, Harper's Weekly, Hearst Magazines, Harper's Bazaar,
The Independent, Ladies Home Journal, Literary Digest, Munsey's,
Musical America, Opera, Physical Culture, Strand, Spur, Town &
Country, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Woman's Home Companion.
and Karsovina are among the Russian ballet artists who came
to New York in 1915 to perform during a difficult period of
created an 81-page user-friendly publicity guide for advance men
to use on the tour. When a national story about the Ballet Russes
appeared, advance men could tailor it for local coverage. The guide
contained mimeographed pages, bios on the dancers, short notes and
fillers, and even a question and answer page that asked, "Are
American men ashamed to be graceful?"
persuaded American manufacturers to make products inspired by the
color and design of the sets and costumes, and national stores to
advertise them. These styles became so popular that Fifth Avenue
stores sold these products without Bernays's intervention. Bernays
used overseas media reviews to heighten anticipation for the dancers.
When they arrived at the docks in New York, a crowd was waiting.
Bernays then took photos of the eager crowds and placed them in
Sunday magazines throughout the country. The ballet was sold out
before the opening. By the time the ballet toured American cities,
demand had already dictated a second tour and little girls were
dreaming of becoming ballerinas. Bernays had remolded biases to
get his story told. The American view of ballet and dance was changed