Ballets Russes 100 Year Festival


The great ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev's motto was etonné-moi (astonish me). One hundred years ago he did just that with his company, Ballet Russes, which toured the world offering new ballets that shocked and delighted audiences with their audacity and modernity. He commissioned artists such as Picasso and Matisse, and composers such as Stravinsky and Ravel, to work with choreographers that included Vaslav and Branislava Nijinsky, Michel Fokine, and George Balanchine. To mark Ballet Russes's 100th anniversary, the Metropolitan Ballet and the Kenwood Symphony join forces to recreate dances that include the vigorous "Polovtsian Dances," "The Dying Swan" (first performed by Anna Pavlova), and "Le Spectre de la Rose," in which an animated rose (originally danced by Nijinsky) invades a maiden's fevered dreams. Also on the program is Fokine's glorious nod to 19th-century romantic ballet, "Les Sylphides." Prima ballerina Nina Novak, a former member of one of the many offshoots of Ballet Russes, will be on hand to host this grande fête.
Aug. 7-8, 8 p.m., 2009

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