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The Vintage Guide To London | October 23, 2017

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Art Deco heaven: Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929

The V&A’s major autumn exhibition (25 September 2010 – 9 January 2011) , Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909–1929, will explore the world of the influential artistic director Serge Diaghilev and the most exciting dance company of the 20th century. Diaghilev combined dance, music and art in bold ways to create ‘total theatre’. A consummate collaborator, he worked with Stravinsky, Chanel, Picasso, Matisse and Nijinsky.

Diaghilev’s dramatic performances transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. This major retrospective will celebrate his enduring influence on 20th–century art and design and will include more than 300 objects from the V&A’s own unrivalled collection and from a variety of lenders.

The energy of the Ballets Russes’ performances will be brought to life through giant backcloths, costumes, art, film and sound. Specially created films will be on show throughout including footage of composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall explaining the development of music that accompanied the Ballets Russes.

Treasures on show will include Picasso’s huge front cloth for Le Train Bleu, as well as original costumes and set designs, props and posters by artists and designers like Léon Bakst, Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau and Natalia Goncharova. These will tell the story of a company which began in the social and political upheaval of prerevolutionary Russia and went on to cause a sensation with exotic performances that had never been seen before.

Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909–1929
25 September 2010 – 9 January 2011
V&A