michael j. morris

Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes

This article was published this week in the New York Times, taking a brief (if not strongly opinioned) look at the centennial of the Ballets Russes:

Macaulay mentions tributes to the Ballets Russes being presented worldwide. I was interested in what these might be and have done some browsing. Here is what I have found:

On May 16th through May 23rd 2009, Boston will host a festival marking one hundred years since Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes premiered in Paris in May 1909. You can find more info here.

As part of this festival, the Boston Ballet will be presenting four Ballets Russes ballets, including Le Spectre de la Rose (Fokine), L’apresmidi d’un Faune (Nijinsky), The Prodigal Son (Balanchine), and a new interpretation of Le Sacre du Printemps by Jorma Elo. Info on those performances can be found here

Ballet West is presenting a concert entitled “Treasures of the Ballets Russes,” featuring The Polovetsian Dances (Fokine), Les Biches (Nijinska), and The Prodigal Son (Balanchine). More information can be found here. I am rather curious about this performance, because to my knowledge there is no surviving film, video, or notation of Les Biches. This performance does credit the original choreography by Nijinska; I am most curious about the source of this choreography. Nijinska is something of a passion of mine, and while I would be more than thrilled to see her work, I am wary of its misrepresentation.

The Australian Ballet is staging work in celebration of Ballets Russes, including a new interpretation of Firebird by Graeme Murphy, Petrouchka and Les Sylphides (Fokine). More info here.

Not necessarily related to the centennial of the premiere of the Ballets Russes, I am potentially presenting a paper and participating in a panel discussion at the 2009 Midwest Slavic Conference here at OSU. The paper is originally “The Negotiation of Gender in the Work of Nijinsky and Nijinska,” looking at their treatment of gender in their performing and choreographic careers. The paper I present will have to be truncated out of necessity, and may focus on the choreographic work of either Nijinsky or Nijinska (I haven’t yet decided). More details about this will follow pending the approval of my abstract and panel.

All in all, an exciting year for the Ballets Russes. I’m sure there are more events out there. If you hear of any, feel free to comment and mention them here. I have no idea how my schedule will look, but I am seriously considering finding a way to attend this festival/performances/symposium in Boston in May. We’ll see how that works out.