Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

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This Blog is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and memories of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, its legendary ballet dancers, choreographers, scenery artists, musicians and composers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dancers and Artist:Doubrovska, Vladimiroff and Berard Are February's Features

The Dancers: Felia and Pierre
February 13 marks the birthday of Felia Doubrovska. She was born in Russia. She trained at the Imperial Ballet School and was accepted into the Maryinsky Ballet in 1913. She joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1920, creating roles in Nijinska's Les Noces in 1923, Balanchine's Apollon Musagète, and Prodigal Son in 1928 and 1929.

When she took over a role from Bronislava Nijinska, Diaghilev told her, "You're too tall for the costume, but you have perfect taste, so go to Coco Chanel and order anything you like."

Felia married acclaimed Russian dancer, Pierre Vladimiroff and they emigrated to the West where they joined the Ballets Russes. Later Pierre danced with the Mordkin Ballet and joined Anna Pavlova's company. From 1934 to 1967 Pierre taught at the School of American Ballet, being the first teacher of the newly founded school to teach the male students.

Felia was guest ballerina with Col. de Basil's Ballet Russe in 1937 and later joined New York's Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company from 1938 to 1939. She retired from performing and became a distinguished teacher at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, until her death at the age of 84.

The Artist: Berard
February 13th also marks the loss of one of the most important scenery artists for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Christian Bérard, also known as Bébé, was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer. Bérard's lover Boris Kochno, was the Director of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and also the co-founder of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées. Born in Paris in 1902, Bérard studied at the Lycée Janson de Sailly as a child. In 1920, he entered the Academie Ranson. Bérard showed his first exhibition in 1925, at the Gallery Pierre.

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. Bérard's most renowned achievement was probably his designs for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête. Bérard died suddenly in 1949, on the stage of the Théâtre de Marigny. Francis Poulenc's Stabat Mater was composed in his memory.

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