From Publishers Weekly
Published to coincide with an exhibition curated by Pritchard at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which possesses the largest holdings of Ballets Russes sets and costumes, this book highlights the artistic achievements of one of the most famous dance companies in history, founded by the great theater producer Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), dubbed an enlightened despot with extraordinary artistic flair by collaborator/composer Stravinsky. Diaghilev, an aesthete and son of a landed nobleman, achieved acclaim as a curator of public art exhibitions and edited an avant-garde art magazine. But it was for his revolutionary, modernist ballet company that Diaghilev is best known, and the photographs in this book illustrate why, with images of his lead male dancers and choreographers, such as Nijinsky and Serge Lifar, who restored the male dancer to a central role; work by artists like Léon Bakst that revitalized stage design; and costumes that influenced fashion and furnishings (Le Train bleu featured both Chanel's smartly contemporary costumes and Picasso's triumphant drop curtain with two giantesses running hand in hand along the beach). Although the book's essays are somewhat disjointed, readers will savor the abundant photographs, which aptly demonstrate the creative process at work. (Nov.) (c)
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About the Author
Jane Pritchard is curator of dance at the V&A.
Geoffrey Marsh is director of the Theatre and Performance Collections at the V&A.