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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
1907
1907
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1970
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1970
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Nijinsky
R. Edmunds -- Serge Diaghileff -- John Brown

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

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

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