Visit London Blog » ballet russes Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes at the V&A Wed, 22 Sep 2010 14:20:25 +0000 Costume for a Mandarin in Le Chant du rossignol designed by Henri Matisse 1920. © Succession H Matisse/DACS 2010 French poster advertising the Ballets Russes in Le Spectre de la Rose featuring Nijinsky, designed by Jean Cocteau 1911. © V&A Images Front cloth used for Le Train bleu after a painting by Pablo Picasso 1924. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010 Costume for the Prince in L`Oiseau d`Or designed by Léon Bakst and worn by Vaslav Nijinsky 1909. © V&A Images Lydia Sokolova, Anton Dolin, Bronislava, Nijinska, Léon Woizikovsky in costumes for le train bleu designed by Chanel. Photo: Sasha 1924. © V&A Images Costume design for the Chinese Conjurer in Parade by Pablo Picasso 1917. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010

Serge Diaghilev caused a storm in the early 20th century with his Ballet Russes – a collective of dancers, artists and designers who shocked audiences and revolutionised the art world. Picasso, Matisse, Chanel, Jean Cocteau, Nijinsky and Stravinsky were among his collaborators.

A new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum follows the career of Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes, featuring costumes, backdrops, photos, paintings, posters and programmes from the era.

I had a sneak preview this morning and my favourite exhibits were the spectacular costumes, many designed by famous names such as Picasso and Matisse. Some are based on traditional Russian dress, while others are weird and wacky, even by today’s standards, and must have constrained the dancers’ movements considerably.

Another highlight was the enormous back cloth for The Firebird, which is the largest object in the V&A. There’s also a massive front cloth based on the Picasso painting Two Women Running on the Beach.

The Ballet Russes show is a must for art and dance fans. One word of warning: allow a few hours to explore the exhibition as there’s loads to see.

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes 1909-1929 is at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 25 September to 9 January

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