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Sobkin V.S., Mazanova V.S.(2014). Comments on L.S. Vygotsky’s theatre review on E.V. Geltser’s performance. National psychological journal,1,37-48

The paper presents the detailed comments on the review of L.S. Vygotsky on the famous Russian ballerina E.V. Geltser’s performance during her Gomel tour in the autumn of 1922. We present a reconstruction of the cultural context which is quite essential for understanding multiple lines of the plot covered in the review of Vygotsky.In the analysis of the text the importance of the distinction between artificial and natural movements introduced by L.S. Vygotsky’s when considering the uniqueness of expressive movement in the choreography is stressed.

It is shown that the uniqueness of cathartic experience that has become a central theme in L.S. Vygotsky’s research monograph “Psychology of Art” (1925), in this review is examined using the analysis of classical dance perception. However, we fix the methodological importance for the analysis of Vygotsky’s account of the existing opposition between the classical and the “so-called untaught natural dance” (A. Duncan, M. Fokine), which in turn allows to designate the fundamental differences between “spiritual” and “soulful” experience. The comments to the review are equipped by the detailed references to the theoretical works of the classicists of the Russian theatre (e.g. A.Tairov, Vs. Meyerhold), where the problem of expressive movement and gesture is also given special focus. Analysis of L.S. Vygotsky’s representations on the fact that it is the “indifference” of the ballet to the natural movement, puts it at a particular level, whereas the detachment from everyday things brings to the experience of the great psychological meaning (“not soulful but spiritual”), and thus allows to link his early work with the ideas he developed in his later book “The Psychology of Art”.

Referring to S. Frank’s works, he rhapsodizes about the nature of artistic experience that might fulfill “the incompleteness and imperfection” of a particular situation. Exactly in these comments to the review L.S. Vygotsky’s juxtaposition of “soulful” and “spiritual” being the fundamental importance for perceiving the psychological characteristics of cathartic experiences in the perception of art is fixed.

In addition, the review comprises the specific use of symbolic means for understanding the processes that have been developed by L.S. Vygotsky in the following works: “The history of the development of higher mental functions” (1930), “Thinking and Speech” (1934).

Received: 07/19/2013

Accepted: 09/20/2013

Pages: 37-48

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2014.0104

Keywords: L. Vygotsky; history of psychology; psychology of art; dance; artificial and natural movement; “soulful” and “spiritual”; pathos; catharsis;

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