While Mathilde was not a member of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, she did dance with them in 1911-1912. She had been invited, by Diaghilev, to dance with the comany in its 1909 premiere, but felt that the better parts were being given to Anna Pavlova, so she declined. Instead, she headlined for the Paris Opera Ballet, one week before Diaghilev's premiere. She had helped and mentored Anna Pavlova and felt some disloyalty.
Mathilde was born in
She was a dancer of brilliant technique, dramatic gifts and great personal charm and beauty. She had close links with the Imperial family and later she married the Grand Duke Andrei, nephew of Tsar Nikolai II. Mathilde was also known as Her Serene Highness Princess Romanova-Krasinskaya since 1921.
She was the first Russian Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and the first Russian dancer to perform the 32 fouettés in
After the Russian revolution she left
Tatiana Riabouchinska was born in
Tatiana stayed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo until 1942. Afterwards she would go on to guest with Ballet Theatre, now ABT, the Original Ballet Russe, Ballet des Champs-Elysées, and the London Festival Ballet.
Tatiana created the role of the Florentine Beauty in Paganni, which some consider to be her finest work, due to a nearly impossible set of whirling pirouettes that she executed before collapsing at the feet of Paganini. Dance critic Arnold Haskell called her performance, “among the most moving I have seen on the ballet stage.” Tatiana was also the Junior Girl in Graduation Ball, title roles in Coq d'Or and Cinderella. Tatiana married fellow dancer and choreographer David Lichine. She passed away in 2000, just after teaching a ballet class.
Mikhail was born in
Mikhail Fokine is one of, if not the, best known choreographer of the 20th century. His ballets are still performed by ballet companies worldwide. In 1907, he choreographed The Dying Swan for Anna Pavlova, in Carnival of Animals which became her iconic solo. He also created Firebird for Pavlova, but after hearing Stravinsky’s music she refused to dance it so Tamara Karsavina danced it.
The first ballet Fokine choreographed for the Maryinsky Theatre was Le Pavillon d'Armide. This ballet was included in the repertoire of the first season of Diaghlev's Ballets Russes, in
Fokine left the Ballets Russes in 1912 because Diaghilev was favoring Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography. He freelanced, finally settling in the
Serge Diaghilev was a law student when he came to
After the innagural performance May 19, 1909, repeat visits in the following years resulted in the formation of the Ballets Russes in 1911 as an independent private company. The final season for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes was in 1929. Diaghilev died in
Although Diaghilev reformed European ballet, his company was often on the verge of bankruptcy. He never returned to
Alexander Glazunov was born on August 10, 1865 in St. Petersburg, Russia and dies on March 21, 1936 in Paris, France. Glazunov studied privately with Rimsky-Korsakov from 1879 through 1881 and had his First Symphony performed when he was 16.
He wrote the music for three of Petipa ballets: Raymonda in 1898, the work for which he is best known, Les Ruses d'amour in 1900, and Les Saisons in 1900. George Balanchine used music from Raymonda for his Pas de dix (1955), Raymonda Variations (1961), and Cortège hongrois (1973). Choreographer Ashton, used selections from Glazunov's music for his Birthday Offering in 1956. Gorsky choreographed his 5th Symphony in 1916, one of the world's first symphonic ballets. And more recently, Twyla Tharp used Glazunov's Scènes de ballet for The Little Ballet in 1984. Anna Pavlova danced Pandéros in the Petipa/Glazunov Raymonda, in Saint Petersburg, in 1910. (photo left)
Glazunov became a member of the circle around the patron Belyayev, who took him to meet Liszt in Weimar in1899. Glazunov was appointed to the St. Petersburg Conservatory, which he directed from 1905 until leaving the Soviet Union in 1928. Glazunov's life in exile, which included an unsuccessful tour of the United States, was difficult but did not suppress his creative energy. He traveled around the world for several years, eventually settling in Paris. Music composed during this period includes the Concerto-Ballata for Cello and Orchestra and the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings, a standard work of the saxophone repertoire.
In 1918, Diaghilev brought her to
Christian Berard was also known as Bébé. He was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer. Bérard and Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballets Russes, were also co-founders of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées.
Bérard was the son of the official architect of the city of Paris, André Bérard. Born in
From the start of his career he had an interest in theatrical scenery and costume designs, and played an important role in the development of theatrical design in the 1930s and 1940s. He also worked as a fashion illustrator for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Nina Ricci.
In 1930, Bérard designed his first theater set, for Jean Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine at the Comédie-Française. In 1931, Bérard joined the company of the Ballet Russes in Monte Carlo, working with choreographer George Balanchine on the ballet Cotillon. Balanchine had taken over for ballet impresario and founder of the Ballet Russes, Sergei Diaghilev.Cocteau was a life-long friend. Bérard's most renowned achievement was probably his lustrous, magical designs for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.
Throughout his career, when he needed the income, Bérard continued to do illustrations for fashion and interior design magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Art et Style, Formes et Coleurs and Style en France. He had a great eye for fashion and style, and his work elevated the art of fashion illustration, updating a Watteau or Fragonard sensibility for women’s fashion to the styles of the 1930s and 40s. His work often inspired the couture collections of designers like Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci. Bérard also did some interior decoration and textile design—painting murals and decorative screens, designing rugs—as well as a line of scarves for Ascher Silks, London.
Christian Berard died in 1949, while at work on the costumes and sets for Les Fourberies de Scapin at the Théàtre Marigny, working with friends director Louis Jouvet and actors Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud. After giving some final instructions, Bérard stood up and said: “Well, that’s that,” and collapsed from a cerebral embolism.
Christian Bérard’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
Massine studied at the
Massine became an outstanding-actor dancer. Before joining the Ballets Russes, Massine had considered giving up dance and becoming an actor. Massine continued to choreograph for every major company including three years as lead dancer and choreographer for the Roxy Theatre in