National Gallery, May 12 – September 02, 2013
Overview: The Ballets Russes—the most innovative dance company of the 20th century—propelled the performing arts to new heights through groundbreaking collaborations between artists, composers, choreographers, dancers, and fashion designers. Founded by Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929) in Paris in 1909, the company combined Russian and Western traditions with a healthy dose of modernism, thrilling and shocking audiences with its powerful fusion of choreography, music, and design. Showcasing more than 130 original costumes, set designs, paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, and posters, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes also incorporates film clips in a theatrical multimedia installation. Adapted from the exhibition conceived by and first shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 2010, the presentation in Washington draws upon that rich survey, including some 80 works from the V&A’s renowned collection of dance artifacts, and adds about 50 objects, generously offered by more than 20 lenders, private and public.