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Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

The Ballet Russes changed the face of dance and opened a new era of modern dance. Sergey Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes incorporated choreography, visual arts, music, dance in their performances. The Ballets Russes was a continual experiment in the diversity and potential that are represented in dance. Its origins were in Russia. It was the homeland for the dancers, choreographers, composers, and designers. However, the Ballets Russes never actually performed in Russia itself. After the Revolution of 1905, the Ballets Russes took up its home in Paris, in the spring of 1909. The Ballets Russes performances took place across three continents and it's style varied with audiences.

The influence of the Ballets Russes was far reaching and its vestiges remain today. The undeniable head of this enterprise was Diaghilev, its president from its inception until his death, and the company's in 1929. "He was a man of ferocious will and infinitely discerning taste, encyclopedic knowledge, and passionate curiosity- a Napoleon of the arts and a Renaissance man in one." Beyond the Ballets Russes, Diaghilev also was the editor and founder of the journal Mir Iskusstra, which was an artistic forum, asking for change in every way.4

Along with Diaghilev, founding members such as Alexandre Benois and Léon Bakst implemented a collaborative method, which became the central development behind the company.(5) Two of the early productions of the Ballets Russes were Petrouchka and Les Sylphides. Although both were performed in its first seasons, each represented unique characteristics of the Ballets Russes.
Photograph of Aurora's Wedding, 1921
822 Media in collectionpage 1 of 9

R. Edmunds -- Serge Diaghileff -- John Brown

Photograph shows (right to left) John Brown, business comptroller of the Metropolitan Opera, Serge Diaghilev of the Ballet Russes and Ralph Edmunds who was connected with the Metropolitan Opera Company. (Source... more

John Brown & S. de Diaghileff

Photograph shows John Brown, business comptroller of the Metropolitan Opera and Serge Diaghilev of the Ballet Russes aboard the French liner Lafayette which arrived in New York on January 11, 1911. (Source: Fli... more

Paul Petrov of the Ballet Russe, backstage at the JC Williamson New Year's Eve party, Theatre Royal, Sydney, 31 December 1936 / Sam Hood

Format: Negative..From the collections of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales www.sl.nsw.gov.au ( http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au ) ..Information about photographic collections of the State Library ... more

Artist Daryl Lindsay with Ballets russes dancers Betty Souvorova and Alosha, 31 January 1937, Moombara, Sydney / photographer Margaret Allen, later Baroness Gifford

During the first of the three famous Ballets russes tours of Australia, Arthur Wigram Allen and his daughter Margaret hosted picnic parties for the company at their waterfront holiday home Moombara on the Port ... more

Colonel de Basil ballet dancers Elizabeth Souvorova (Betty Scorer), Aloysius Frank and the dog Apsia, Theatre Royal, Sydney, February 1937 / Sam Hood

' ... When that troupe sailed to New Zealand from Australia in March 1937 “a new member of the company went with them”, reported the Adelaide newspaper, The Mail. ..“He is, without a doubt, the most popular mem... more

Russian Ballet rehearsal at Theatre Royal (taken for J.C. Williamson Ltd), Sydney, 4 June 1937 / photographer Sam Hood

Format: Negative..Find more detailed information about this photographic collection: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=20590 ( http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=20590 ... more

De Basil Covent Garden Russian Ballet Company on the SS Maloja during their Australian tour, September 1938

Dancers include Irina Bondireva and Irina Vassilieva..Format: Silver gelatin photograph..Find more detailed information about this photograph: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=421962 ( http:/... more

Colonel de Basil's "Original Ballet Russe" (Russian Ballet) season, Theatre Royal, Sydney, 1939-1940, / Sam Hood

Find more detailed information about this photographic collection: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=395095 ( http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=395095 ) ..Search for m... more

Tatiana Riabouchinska darning the ballet shoes, Sydney, between 1938-1940 / photographer unknown

Riabouchinska, one of the leading ballerinas of the 1930's, darns a ballet slipper, probably in Rushcutters Bay Park, on a warm Sydney day. She was one of the famous three "Baby Ballerinas"..Format: P... more

Helene Kirsova, ballerina, ca. 1941 / photographer Bitter-Jeppesen Studios, Melbourne

Notes: Danish ballerina Helene Kirsova first came to Australia with the famous Ballet Russe in 1936. They played in capital cities for months and Australians were enthralled with modern classical ballet. On her... more