Vaslav Nijinsky himself did the choreography for Afternoon of a Faun, using the music of Claude Debussy. In this interpretation, Bakst’s scenery and costumes have been stunningly reconstructed by Ralph Holmes. The original choreography, designed to evoke the two-dimensional flatness of a Greek frieze, was reconstructed by Elizabeth Schooling and William Chappel.
The premiere of Faun in 1912 created something of a scandal because of its final moments simulating sexual ecstasy. Today, unfortunately, it is little more than a period curiosity, interesting more in theory than in execution.
Throughout this program, the Joffrey company is kept on attractive display, but it is the presence of Mr. Nureyev, of course, that lends more than normal interest to the event on the television screen – as it did on the stage. Born in 1938, Mr. Nureyev is reaching the professional point when most dancers begin to think of retirement or at least of easing up. To the credit of his determination, not to mention stamina, the star remains busier and more adventurous than ever.
By John J. O’Connor Published: March 9, 1981 in the New York Times