Adventures of a Travelling Historian

Karinska’s cottage in the woods

I recently found out that legendary designer and costume maker Barbara Karinska had a summer cottage in the Berkshires - in fact just down the road from Jacob's Pillow! If that was not cool enough I then found out that it was in this cottage that George Balanchine and Maria Tallchief spent their honeymoon in… Continue reading Karinska’s cottage in the woods

Finding the Ballets Russes in NYC – Part Two.

At the New York Historical Society you can now see, on permanent display, what is surely the biggest Picasso in NYC! The canvas was once the front cloth for Le Tricorne, from 1919, designed by Picasso, and shows a traditional corrida scene. In 1928 Diaghilev cut the middle section cut out of the cloth and sold it… Continue reading Finding the Ballets Russes in NYC – Part Two.

Jacob’s Pillow!

For the next three months I will be living and working at Jacob's Pillow - the longest running dance festival in the USA and probably the most famous in the world. It is proving a pretty great experience so far with new artists and students arriving each week, as well as the huge team of… Continue reading Jacob’s Pillow!

Fokine Ballet Summer Camp

This time I swear I wasn't looking for ballet! I spent the last weekend in the gorgeous town of  Lenox, Massachusetts. This area was the hugely popular during the so called 'Gilded Age' and is full of beautiful estates called 'cottages'. I went to visited the gorgeous Ventfort Hall - built for Sarah Morgan. https://www.gildedage.org/… Continue reading Fokine Ballet Summer Camp

Finding the Ballets Russes in NYC – Part One.

Whenever I go, intentionally or not, I seem to find something to do with Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes. For the last week I have been in New York and on Monday I visited the Met Museum – one of my favourite museums. Quite by accident I came across a  display of designs by Léon Bakst.… Continue reading Finding the Ballets Russes in NYC – Part One.

In search of Pavlova…

Over the last 12 days I have been exploring Scotland by train (and ferry and occasionally bus and even taxi!) - it was brilliant adventure. When I was in Glasgow I went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It was here that I was able to see this wonderful painting of Anna Pavlova in The… Continue reading In search of Pavlova…

Ballets Russes Google Doodle

Yesterday marked the 145th birthday of Ballets Russes impresario Sergei Diaghilev - to celebrate this Google created a doodle in his honour. Without Diaghilev the arts and in particular ballet would be very different. The Ballets Russes was the most significant artistic enterprise of the C20th and it was led by the indomitable figure of Diaghilev.… Continue reading Ballets Russes Google Doodle

Pavlova at The Savoy once more…

Last weekend I was involved in a wonderful event at The Savoy as part of this year's Russian Ballet Icons Gala. This year's gala focused of the legacy of The Ballets  Russes and consisted of a star studded gala at The Coliseum Theatre followed by a dinner at The Savoy. I was asked by Giberg… Continue reading Pavlova at The Savoy once more…

What started it all …

The Ballets Russes, and in particular their costumes, have been my passion since I was 15 years old and found an old exhibition catalogue in a second-hand bookshop. The catalogue was from the National Gallery of Australia's 1999 exhibition, From Russia with Love, and contained a picture of this costume for a knight from the 1910 production of Firebird. I… Continue reading What started it all …

A swan song …

Anna Pavlova, b. 1881 - d. 1931 was most famous for her performance of the divertissement The Swan or The Dying Swan. The elaborate feathered tutu she wore has  always fascinated me - How was it made? Does it survive? Several years ago I began working as a volunteer at the Museum of London which houses, amongst its vast collection,… Continue reading A swan song …