Afternoon of a Faun

Heike Liss

One hundred years ago, on a late May evening in Paris, an 11-minute ballet so scandalized audiences that it’s still making waves today.

“Afternoon of a Faun” was choreographed by then-23-year-old Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballet Russes. The dancers were barefoot and the angular movements of the dance rejected the formal constraints of classical ballet. Then there was the issue of the subject matter, which was overtly sexual in a way that audiences of the time had never seen.