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Ballets Russes Exhibition at Bonhams

Posted on May 22, 2019

Auction house Bonhams is to host a major exhibition marking the 110th anniversary of the Ballets Russes, the groundbreaking company founded by impresario Serge Diaghilev in 1909. In Pursuit of the Firebird: A Ballets Russes Exhibition at Bonhams will run at 101 New Bond Street from May 28 until June 5.

The exhibition will focus on The Firebird, a ballet presented during the Ballets Russes Paris season in 1910 with music by Igor Stravinsky. It was the composer’s breakthrough work, and the first of his many collaborations with Diaghilev.

On display will be costumes by Alexander Golovine for the original 1910 production, modified for the 1926 revival by Natalia Goncharova and Vera Sudeikina (who married Stravinsky in 1940). Some of the costumes were also used in later productions of The Firebird by the short-lived Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo set up by Wassily de Basil in 1932 after the original company had been dissolved, following Diaghilev’s sudden death in 1929.

The costumes will be displayed alongside 24 costume designs for The Sleeping Beauty by Sergey Sudeikin, Vera’s first husband, as well as other costume and stage designs. For further details, go to bonhams.com.

Images: Costumes by Alexander Golovine for the original 1910 production of The Firebird. Photographs by Nic Hutchins courtesy of Bonhams

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, is out now as an ebook and available on Amazon, with the paperback following on August 22.

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