They came. They danced. Our world was never the same. -- Ballets Russes on Bravo!
Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, Ballets Russes is a dazzling ode to the revolutionary 20th century dance troupe. Ballets Russes, a feature-length documentary covering more than 50 years in the lives of a group of innovative artists, tells the story of the Russian, American, European and Latin American dancers who transformed ballet. Ballets Russes premieres May 14 at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT on Bravo!.
From 1909 when Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev premiered his legendary Ballet Russe company in Paris, to 1962 when Serge Denham’s off-shoot, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, performed for the last time in Brooklyn, the Ballets Russes companies brought their groundbreaking and often controversial choreographies to big cities and small towns around the world. Along the way, these artistic visionaries left their mark on every area of art and culture – from stage design, painting and music, to Hollywood and Broadway.
Using intimate interviews with surviving members of the Ballets Russes companies (now in their 70s, 80s and 90s) as well as rare archival materials and motion picture footage, Ballets Russes is both an ensemble character film and an historical portrait of the birth of an art form. Ballets Russes maps the company’s Diaghilev-era beginnings in turn-of-the-century Paris – when artists such as Nijinsky, Balanchine, Picasso, Miró, Matisse, and Stravinsky united in an unparalleled collaboration – to its halcyon days of the 1930s and ’40s, when the Ballets Russes toured America, astonishing audiences with artistry never before seen, to its demise in the 1950s and ’60s when rising costs, rocketing egos, outside competition, and internal mismanagement ultimately brought this revered company to its knees.
The film culminates with the first and only Ballets Russes Reunion Celebration, held in 2000 in New Orleans, bringing together nearly 100 surviving dancers, most of whom had not seen each other in more than 50 years. Ballets Russes is narrated by the Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes, and includes interviews with: Irina Baronova, Frederic Franklin, Nathalie Krassovska, Dame Alicia Markova, Marc Platt, Tania Riabouchinska, Mia Slavenska, Tatiana Stepanova, Tamara Tchinerova Finch and George Zoritch. It also includes rich posthumous portraits of George Balanchine, Alexandra Danilova, Leonide Massine and other notable dance pioneers.
Bravo!, a division of CHUM Television, is a rest stop in the television universe where viewers make a regular appointment with the arts (www.bravo.ca). CHUM Television is a division of CHUM Limited (www.chumlimited.com), one of Canada’s leading media companies and content providers which owns and operates radio stations, local television stations, specialty channels and Internet properties.
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