The Ballets Russes de Diaghilev: Twenty Years that Changed Classical Ballet
Diane Coburn Bruning, choreographer and artistic director, Chamber Dance Project
Between 1909 and 1929 a Russian man who could neither dance nor choreograph nor teach ballet changed the course of classical ballet: the man is Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929), the founder of the Ballets Russes. Widely regarded as the most influential ballet company in the 20th century, and in a span of only twenty years, Diaghilev promoted ground-breaking collaborations between young choreographers, composers and artists. Diaghilev brought together composers including Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Prokofiev; and artists like Pablo Picasso, Leon Bakst, Vasily Kandinsky, and Henri Matisse to work with nascent choreographers such as Leonide Massine, Vaslav Nijinsky, and George Balanchine. These new works radically departed from the 19th century classical ballets of his homeland. Works such as Sacre du Printemps (Nijinsky/Stravinsky) caused sensational reactions and disruption (and, it is said, near riots) at its Paris premiere in 1913.
This conversation with award-winning choreographer Diane Coburn Bruning will bring together the sights and sounds of this fertile period of ballet to help us understand how truly brilliant and visionary Diaghilev and his Ballet were in changing the course of ballet forever.
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