Ballets Russes


Even if the mere mention of classical ballet – ethereal figures in tutus wafting around – brings you out in cold sweats, hold on... Because, behind all that elegant high culture lurks enough rampant ambition, envy, screaming egotism and downright bitchery to fuel several seasons of Desperate Housewives. Ballets Russes traces what happened following the death of the great Sergei Diaghilev, chief begetter of modern ballet. His passing led to internal tensions in his school and, before long, there were two Ballet Russe companies touring the globe, each spitting venom at its rival and trying to pinch its best dancers. Along with clips of classic stagings, we get a wealth of interviews with spirited old survivors of the era, all of them articulate, lively and even capable – well into their 80s – of the odd majestic leap. And by way of bonuses, there’s nearly a full hour of extra interview material. A goldmine, and not just for balletomanes.


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