January 23, 1931 marked the passing of a legend. Pavlova is most recognised for the creation of the role The Dying Swan and with her own company, would become the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world. Anna Pavlova's rare private days were spent at Ivy House in Hampstead,
Dali was born on in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region, close to the French border in
(Photo:Coco Chanel with Dali)
In the ballet community Dali is remembered designing sets for Ballet Russe’s Bacchanale in 1939, a ballet based on and set to the music of Richard Wagner's 1845 opera Tannhäuser. Dalí provided both the set design and the libretto.
After Bacchanale, Dali created set designs for Labyrinth in 1941 and The Three-Cornered Hat in 1949 for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
January 22nd marks the birthday of famed Choreographer, George Balanchine. Balanchine was balletmaster of Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. Between 1924 and Diaghilev's death in 1929, Balanchine created nine ballets:
After Diaghilev's death the Ballets Russes fell into disarray. When the company reorganized he returned to the Ballets Russes resuming his post as ballet master for the new Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He choreographed three ballets: Cotillon, La Concurrence, and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. When René Blum passed control of the company to Colonel W. de Basil, Balanchine again left the Ballets Russes. This time he formed his own company, Les Ballets 1933, with the financial backing of Edward James and Diaghilev's former secretary and companion Boris Kochno as an advisor. The company lasted only a couple of months.
The three act ballet Raymonda, premiered in January 19, 1898 at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. with choreography by Marius Petipa. Prima Ballerina, Pierina Legnani danced the title role, with Sergei Legat as her suitor, the chivalrous knight Jean de Brienne. Glazunov's score for the ballet Raymonda, Op. 57, supports a fanciful narrative by novelist-journalist Lydia Pashkova. The libretto was by Petipa and Lydia Pashkova, music by Glazunov, sets by O. Allegri, K.
Raymonda is regarded as Petipa's last true masterpiece and has been constantly revived in Russia. It was kept unchanged in the Kirov repertoire until 1938 when Vainonen staged a new version with a revised libretto by himself and Slominsky. In 1948, Sergeyev staged a version which reverted to a close approximation of Petipa. The Bolshoi danced their first production in 1900 and in 1908 showed a brand-new version by Gorsky. Lavrovsky staged a later revival (1945) with much of Petipa's choreography restored.
In the West, Petipa's ballet has appeared in many different forms. The Grand Pas hongrois (Act III) formed part of an evening of divertissements danced by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris (1909) and Pavlova presented a two-act version of the ballet staged by Ivan Clustine in New York (1914). The complete ballet was danced in Nicholas Zvereff's staging for the National Opera Ballet of Lithuania in London (1935) while the first US production was a shortened re-creation of Petipa's work by Danilova and Balanchine for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (New York, 1946).
Nureyev staged a complete version in 1964 for the Royal Ballet Touring Company at the Spoleto Festival although only Act III remained in the permanent repertoire. Nureyev subsequently re-staged the complete production for Australian Ballet (1965), Zurich Opera Ballet (1972), and for American Ballet Theatre (1975). Berlin Opera Ballet also staged the complete ballet in a production by T. Gsovsky (Acts I and II) and Beriozoff (Act III). Balanchine choreographed his own ballet, Pas de dix, to the music from the Grand Pas hongrois (1955), later developed into Cortège hongrois (1973), and also Raymonda Variations (to other extracts from Glazunov's score) in 1961.
Sleeping Beauty premiered January 15th in St. Petersburg, Russia. Choreography by Petipa, music by Tchaikovsky and starring Carlotta Brianza in the role of Aurora. The ballet's premiere received more favorable accolades than Swan Lake from the press but Tchaikovsky never had the luxury of being able to witness his work become an instant success in theatres outside of Russia. He died in 1893. By 1903, The Sleeping Beauty was the second most popular ballet in the repertory of the Imperial Ballet (the Petipa/Pugni The Pharaoh's Daughter was first), having been performed 200 times in only 10 years.
The Sleeping Beauty is Tchaikovsky's longest ballet, lasting nearly four hours at full length - counting the intermissions. Without intermissions, it lasts nearly three hours. It is nearly always cut.
At the premier, Tsar Alexander III summoned Tchaikovsky to the imperial box. The Tsar made the simple remark 'Very nice,' which seemed to have irritated Tchaikovsky, who had likely expected a more favorable response.
January 8th marks the birthday of dancer/choreographer Bronislava Nijinska. The sister of the legendary Nijinsky, Bronislava was an accomplished dancer and in her own right. In 1921, after a brief time apart, Nijinska rejoined the Ballets Russes. While a dancing with the Ballets Russes, she also became the Chief Choreographer of the company. One of her first pieces was "Three Ivans" for Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty. Her first ballets were Igor Stravinsky's Renard in 1922 and Les Noces 1923. The following year she choreographed Les Biches, Les Fâcheux and Le Train Bleu. Bronislava later choreographed for the Paris Opéra, Opéra Russe à