AIDAN O'BRIEN gained another invaluable clue as to the Classic picture in France when Diaghilev
stayed on well to land yesterday's Group 3 Prix La Force at Chantilly, writes Desmond Stoneham.
himself, the only begetter of the remarkable ballets his company produced, was an astonishing man, who once wrote: "I am first a great charlatan (though with dash), second, a great charmer, third, cheeky, fourth, a person with a lot of logic and few principles and fifth, someone afflicted with a complete absence of talent.
The production was magnificent and it cost a fortune in costumes and sets, something from which Diaghilev
never recovered financially.
Through his work with Arc Dance Company - which is taking a break this year as he works on Pulcinella and two other Diaghilev
commissions - Debussy's L'Apres midi d'un faune and Jeux - in Austria, Brandstrup is more usually associated with the contemporary dance world, though he has worked extensively with ballet companies.
Stockholm, London, Hamburg, Sydney, and the Russian city of Perm (Diaghilev
's birthplace) will have their own activities.
But it is still the Diaghilev
scores of his early years - The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring and Pulcinella - which endear him most to general music-lovers
We are receding from the promise embedded in Diaghilev
's dictum, sliding back into the dull swamp of the epater of stale "avant-garde" gestures.
But at the company's epicentre was Diaghilev
, who controlled everything from the costumes to the weekly wages paid to the highest and the lowest.
When choosing the ballets for "Treasures of the Ballets Russes," artistic director Adam Sklute wanted to honor Ballet West's own historical connection to Diaghilev
. For Ballet West's founder, Willam Christensen, it was dancing in Fokine's Polovstian Dances as a student in the 1930s that whetted his appetite to choreograph and start his own company.
Dame Ninette herself danced with Diaghilev
as a young woman, and recently I saw her name listed as simply "Devalois" in a luxury souvenir programme for a 1920s spring season when the Russian Ballet was in Monte Carlo.
When Nijinsky broke with Diaghilev
in 1913, Nijinska also left, returning to Russia the following year.
de Basil put together their own companies from the remnants of Diaghilev
, providing the beginnings of the various Ballets Russes touring troupes that sparked a worldwide cult of what dance critic Arnold Haskell dubbed balletomania.