The first season (1909) of the Ballets Russes took place in the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Musically it was something of a mess (a jumble of composers and musical styles that Walter Nouvel referred to as a ‘salade russe’). But the novelty of the choreography, the colour and brilliance of the costumes and scenery, and the amount of (supposedly) naked flesh on show, delighted, astonished and shocked Parisian audiences.
Here are two reconstructions of those 1909 performances (note the opulence of the costumes): the pas de trois from Nikolay Tcherepnin’s Le Pavillon d’Armide (the slave – he with the turban – was the role danced by Nijinsky in the first Paris production), and the Kirov Ballet’s revival of Michel Fokine’s choreography for the Polovtsian Dances.
Do visit the Daphnis page, it will let you to explore the work in terms of theme and structure and, also, view a (rather wayward) Royal Ballet production of the opening scene.
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