Robert Bell: Ballets Russes

The astonishing legacy of Sergei Diaghilev

Alan R. Dodge

 

Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume
by Robert Bell
National Gallery of Australia, $39.95 pb, 264 pp, 9780642541574

 

What is it about the Ballets Russes that resonates with so many people? Is it the magic of a redeemed art ordained in a marriage of artists, dancers, and composers overseen by a master celebrant – Sergei Diaghilev? Is it remembrance of a creative fire that burst onto the stage in 1909 and assured a strong future for ballet around the world? The answer is ‘yes’ to both, but I think that what attracts us most is nostalgia for a particular moment in time; the desire to have witnessed those famous performances in the early decades of the last century.

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Published in March 2011 no. 329

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