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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Anniversary of Serge Grigoriev's Passing

Serge Grigoriev was born October 5, 1883 in Russia and died in London on June 28, 1968. He studied at the St. Petersburg Imperial School, graduating in 1900, and danced with the Maryinsky Ballet until Diaghilev appointed him ballet master in 1909. Serge Grigoriev danced the classic ballets from the repertory of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

He became r├ęgisseur of the Ballets Russes on their first trip to Paris in 1909 and remained in that position for twenty years. Grigoriev was a friend of Mikhail Fokine, and Fokine recommended him to rehearse the ballets for the 1909 season. As a dancer he created the role of Shah Shariar in Fokine's Scheherazade (1910), Guidone in Fokine's Le Coq d'or (1914), and the Russian Merchant in Massine's La Boutique Fantasque (1919). Fokine however, left the Ballets Russes over issues with Nijinsky, but Grigoriev stayed.

After Diaghilev fired Vaslav Nijinsky he needed to rehire Fokine. Before he agreed to return, Fokine made many demands: to dance leading roles; that all of Nijinsky's ballets be dropped from the repertoire; and that Grigoriev and his wife, the ballerina Lubov Tchernicheva, be discharged from the company. He got everything but the termination of Grigoriev. Diaghilev got Fokine, Grigoriev and Tchernicheva to reconcile. Grigoriev remained with Diaghlev’s Ballets Russes until the death of Serge Diaghilev.

After the death of Diaghilev in 1929, the company disbanded; Grigoriev and his wife joined Colonel de Basil's Ballet Russe in 1932, restaging the original choreography of Diaghilev's repertoire and remaining until 1948. Working with his wife, Lubov Tchernicheva, he produced several Fokine revivals for Sadler's Wells/Royal Ballet: Firebird (1954), Les Sylphides (1955), and Petrushka (1957) and the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor (1965).

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