I have long been fascinated with the Ballets Russes USA tours in 1916 and 1917. Last year for Arts+Culture Texas I researched the week the company spent in Texas. The following article is reproduced with permission from Arts + Culture. In early December 1916 Vaslav Nijinsky, the greatest dancer alive, spent a week in Texas.… Continue reading The week Nijinsky spent in Texas
So to get to Chicago I decided to take historical research to a new level and in a bid to relive the Ballets Russes tour I got the train. The 18 hour from D.C. to Chicago. While train travel may have been glamorous in 1916 - it is not now. It was however a lot… Continue reading Adventures of a Travelling Historian – Chicago
The Ballets Russes visited Washington D.C. twice in 1916. The first time was in March from the 23rd - 25th when the company performed at the National Theatre. They performed Cleopatra, Le Spectre de la Rose, Midnight Sun, Carnaval, Les Sylphides, L'après-midi d'un faune, Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, and Scheherazade. The company returned… Continue reading Finding Nijinsky in Washington D.C.
The surprisingly successful failure Over the next month I am planning on following and researching (in a very small way) the route of the supposedly ill-fated Ballets Russes USA tour of 1916. This tour was led by Nijinsky and has often been deemed a failure, as has the première of his last ballet Till… Continue reading Finding Nijinsky in NYC
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.
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
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.
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…
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
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 …