16 Facts About Ballets Russes


Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company begun in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America.

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Ballets Russes never performed in Russia, where the Revolution disrupted society.

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Originally conceived by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes is widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century, in part because it promoted ground-breaking artistic collaborations among young choreographers, composers, designers, and dancers, all at the forefront of their several fields.

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French plural form of the name, Ballets Russes, specifically refers to the company founded by Sergei Diaghilev and active during his lifetime.

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Ballets Russes was uniquely prepared for the role; born into a wealthy Russian family of vodka distillers, he was accustomed to moving in the upper-class circles that provided the company's patrons and benefactors.

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Ballets Russes was noted for the high standard of its dancers, most of whom had been classically trained at the great Imperial schools in Moscow and St Petersburg.

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Ballets Russes was even more remarkable for raising the status of the male dancer, largely ignored by choreographers and ballet audiences since the early 19th century.

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Ballets Russes graduated in 1907 and joined the Imperial Ballet where he immediately began to take starring roles.

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Massine's most famous creations for the Ballets Russes were Parade, El sombrero de tres picos, and Pulcinella.

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Ballets Russes's ballets incorporated both folk dance and demi-charactere dance, a style using classical technique to perform character dance.

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Ballets Russes's trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, joining the Imperial Ballet company in 1908.

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Ballets Russes subsequently studied music theory, composition, and advanced piano at the Petrograd Conservatory, graduating in 1923.

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Ballets Russes was invited by Sergei Diaghilev to join the Ballets Russes as a choreographer.

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Ballets Russes was responsible for commissioning the first two significant British-composed ballets: Romeo and Juliet and The Triumph of Neptune (composed in 1926 by Lord Berners).

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Paris, 2008: In September 2008, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Ballets Russes, Sotheby's announced the staging of an exceptional exhibition of works lent mainly by French, British and Russian private collectors, museums and foundations.

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Posters recalling the surge of creativity that surrounded the Ballets Russes included Pablo Picasso's iconic image of the Chinese Conjuror for the audacious production of Parade and Jean Cocteau's poster for Le Spectre de la rose.

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