Ballet Russes
The Legendary Company

Ballet Russes is known as one of the greatest ballet companies in the 20th century. The company formed revolutionary artist, contemporary choreographers and legendary composers, artists and dancers.

Directed by Sergei Diaghilev, there is no question that Ballet Russes an unforgettable company that revolutionized ballet. They came from Russia and performed between 1909 and 1929, creating an immense sensation around the world.

The company gave a complete new energy to the art of performing arts and combined new dance, art and music.

They collaborated great artists to produce new works that shocked, loved and were celebrated by all audiences.

Just some of the iconic names include George Balanchine, Marius Petipa and Vaslav Nijinsky.

ballet russes

General Information

Name : Ballet Russes

Other Related Names: Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Original Ballet Russe.

Year Founded : 1909

Founder : Serge Diaghilev

Choreographers: Marius Petipa, Michel Fokine, Bronislava Nijinska, Léonide Massine, Vaslav Nijinsky, George Balanchine

Location : Originally established in Paris

Brief history

The founder and director, Sergei Diaghilev was not so much a dancer or artist himself, but full of wealth and intelligence that aided him to become the organizer and business man of the company.

The ideas of Diaghilev to create Ballet Russes came from his interests in Russian art with Alexandre Benois and Leon Bakst, they all believed that "art is free, life is paralyzed."

The majority of the dancers came from the Russian Imperial Theatres and the company became renowned for their high standard. They had many legendary dancers all through the existence of the company including Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Mathilde Kschessinska, Ida Rubinstein, Bronislava Nijinska and Alicia Markova.

ballet russes

They remained a travelling company but originally formed in Paris, situated at the the Théâtre Mogador and Théâtre du Châtelet.

The company later moved to Monte Carlo and in 1911 was presented under Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, making the debut in London.

Diaghilev died an early death in 1929 and the dancers went their own separate ways. The company did however get reproduced by Colonel Wassily de Basil and his associate René Blum in which they renamed the company, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The great Balanchine and Massine worked together with the new company as choreographers.

ballet russes

The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo left Europe and toured broadly in the United States. But with Balanchine creating the School of American Ballet, and next New York City Ballet, many of the superb Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers fled to New York to teach.

The company performed contrasting dance styles all of which were dependent on the current time, trends and artists of the creation.

They have been seen as performing Classical, Neo-Classical, Romantic, Neo-Romantic, Avant-Garde, Expressionist, Abstract, and Orientalist.

For twenty years, between 1909 and 1929, they developed a rich and incredible history. Their influence still remains a great presence today and major companies in the UK, such as the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet, still perform the successful works of the company.

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