Russia is, in my mind, a land of inscrutable culture. The isolation imposed by the 1917 Russian Revolution crushed much of the traditional Russian culture and imposed hardships on a population that might have thrived left exposed to outside influence.
Evidence of this is seen in the history of the Ballet Russes. While I am not a aficionado of ballet, I do appreciate its discipline and history–a history not disconnected from western fencing. Fencing instructors were gentlemen of culture who provided basic lessons fencing, dance, equestrian sports, hunting and language to wealthy families. In the decades prior to 1917 Russians were fascinated by French culture. Thus, ballet and fencing were prized pastimes. And so this… MB