Marjorie Rachlin gives this exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art the highest of marks. In fact, I take Marge’s recommendations very seriously. Yes, she convinced me to go, and it is fabulous. –Marlene Berlin
Don’t miss the exhibit Diaghelev and the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced With Music, at the National Gallery (east) until October 6th. This is a beautifully-mounted show about the Ballets Russes dance company in Paris during the years 1909 to 1929. The exhibit includes 130 of the original costumes, set designs, posters and photos, plus six short videos of re-created ballets of that time (such as Rites of Spring and Petrouchka).
Diaghelev, the producer, used avant garde artists to design the sets and costumes, and you will see sketches and posters by Picasso, Bakst, deChirico, Matisse, Roualt, Cocteau, Chanel and others. Strindberg, Debussy and other “way out” composers often composed the music. Nijinsky was a featured dancer who eventually became a choreographer, and there are several portraits of him, as well as a full-sized model of him leaping into the air and a video recreation of his role in “Afternoon of a Faun.”
These ballets brought about a revolution that led to much of our modern dance today, but if this leaves you cold, go to see the gorgeous costumes. —Marjorie Rachlin