Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Ballets Russes in Australia - 1936-1940

The National Library of Australia, Canberra.
The Ballets Russes in Australia - 1936-1940. Exhibition.

9 April - 27 September 2009

The National Library of Australia celebrates the centenary of Serge Diaghilev’s uniquely creative Ballets Russes (1909-1929) and the visits to Australia by three Ballets Russes companies under the artistic leadership of Colonel Wassily de Basil between 1936 and 1940. These companies traced their lineage back to Diaghilev’s company and were inheritors of much of the Diaghilev repertoire as well as engaging in innovative commissions of their own. They brought to Australia a panorama of dance, music and design on a scale not seen here before, significantly influencing the development of the arts, society and culture in this country.

The exhibition draws on the National Library’s comprehensive Ballets Russes collection - the nation’s largest - and also material from the Ballets Russes project partners and other Australian collecting institutions.

Iconic images by Max Dupain and documentary images by Hugh P Hall, along with art works by such artists as Len Annois, Daryl Lindsay, Francis Lymburner and Enid Dickson, dancer-choreographers Edouard Borovansky and Dorothy Stevenson tell the story of the Ballets Russes in Australia. Similarly, photographs taken by dancers and their admirers throughout the tours, show the dancers on stage, off stage and off duty.

Designs created in the wake of the Ballets Russes for the Kirsova, Borovansky and The Australian Ballets by William Constable and Kenneth Rowell – from the Barr Smith’s Keith Glennon Collection – provide an insight into the direct influence of the Ballets Russes designers Bakst, Benois, Gontcharova and Masson on Australia artists.

For Exhibition details see the Ballets Russes Exhibition Page.

1 comment:

Lee Christofis said...

Hello and thanks for posting "The Ballets Russes in Australia" on your blog. I'm the Curator of Dance at the National Library and have had great fun curating the show. The show has been a great hit with the public, so much so that the closing date has been extended to 31 January 2010. Shows you how "golden oldies" still manage to attract contemporary audiences of all ages, cultures and persuasions.

And by the way, a new documentary, "A Thousand Encores", about the Ballets Russes companies, with interviews and stunning archival footage, screens on ABC TV on 3 November at 8.30 pm.

Thanks again! Lee


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