Document Type



Master of Arts



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Minsoo Kang, PhD.


Peter Acsay

Susan Waller

Nil Santiáñez


Objective: How and why did the early modernist groups of the Ballets Russes and the Italian Futurists utilize nationalism in their early theatrical programs? In this study we look at the genesis and early artistic influences of Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, and F. T. Marinetti, founder of the Italian Futurists. We consider the political affiliations and ideals of nationalism of these two men and those artists crucial to both movements. The issue of the crisis of modernity is discussed, and how both art movements react to, and are products of this crisis. Through early writings, compositions, poems, manifestos, performances, and reviews, this thesis illuminates two very different imaginings of nationalism. That of the Ballets Russes looks to the past, and to folk and pagan Russia for rejuvenation and self-identity. They had no program for war or explicit politics, whereas the Italian Futurists, under the direction of Marinetti, use their frenetic and bellicose theatrical serate to propagate a political program of war and technology.