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CREEES Celebrates 100 Years of the Ballets Russes

Tuesday September 15, 2009
• Various locations around campus

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2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Ballets Russes by Sergei Diaghilev. The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies will celebrate the centennial of this milestone in cultural history with a symposium of events, featuring films, talks, discussions and an exhibition of original costumes and scene designs.

Exhibit
Sept. 15 - Nov. 25
Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Harry Ransom Center Third-Floor Director‘s Gallery (3.206)
100 Years of the Ballets Russes
In connection with the Ballets Russes events the Harry Ransom Center will host an exhibition of original manuscripts, drawings, and costumes from the Center’s Carlton Lake and Performing Arts collections that demonstrate the reach of the Ballets Russes in early 20th-century literary and artistic circles.

Films
Sept. 15, 7 p.m., GRG 102
"Ballets Russes"
Dazzling collection of archival footage depicting the history of the revolutionary 20th century dance troupes of the Ballets Russes. (Documentary, 2005, 118 min)

Sept. 17, 7 p.m., GRG 102
"Nijinsky"
Always in flawless control onstage, the famous dancer Nijinsky led a troubled life offstage, including a romance that drove him to madness. (Feature film, 1980, 125 min)

Sept. 22, 7 p.m.,  GRG 102
"Stravinsky‘s Rite of Spring"
Follows Stravinsky’s journeys through time and place as he develops his most shocking masterpiece.
(Documentary, 2006, 116 min)

Sept. 24, 7 p.m., GRG 102
"Return of the Firebird"
Dramatic recreations of the original Ballets Russes productions of “The Firebird”, “Petrushka” and “Scheherazade”.
(Ballet film, 2002, 120 min)

Public Lectures

Sept. 16, 11:30 a.m., Tom Lea Room (HRC 3.206)
"Once Upon A Ballet: Russia‘s Classic Fairy Tales and the Ballets Russes"
Presented by Thomas Garza, chair of the Slavic studies department

In creating some of the most opulent productions of the Ballets Russes, its musical and artistic directors turned to Russia's rich tradition of the literary fairytale as source material. Borrowing from several of Pushkin's and Zhukovsky’s reworkings of traditional folk motifs, Diaghilev's company transformed the stage into a fantastic world, adding the aural and kinetic elements of music and dance to the tales. From early productions, such as “The Firebird” (1910) and “The Golden Cockerel” (1914), to later performances like “The Sleeping Princess” (1921), the creative genius of composers Stravisnky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky, choreographers Fokine and Petipa, and designers Bakst and Golovin reimagined motifs and themes of Russian fairytales as artistic creations for the New Century.

Sept. 23, 11:30 a.m. Tom Lea Room (HRC 3.206)
"Exiled Beauty: The Ballets Russes from Diaghilev‘s St. Petersburg to Balanchine‘s New York"
 Presented by Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of English

Can any culture have a better ambassador than its art? Founded in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev in St. Petersburg, the Ballets Russes brought dance, music and art together to enchant an emerging, troubled, modern world. In the years before and after the world wars especially, this company drew upon the collaborative potential of a unique generation of artists. From Stravinsky’s and Debussy’s radical music, to Pavolova’s and Nijinsky’s unforgettable, graceful strength, the Ballets Russes combined sensuality and modernity in unforgettable visual and acoustic events. The provocation of “The Afternoon of the Faun” and of “The Rite of Spring” spread from Paris to New York and Buenos Aires and changed modern art and taste forever.