Top positive review
105 of 107 people found this helpful
Fascinating documentary about Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo
on 22 September 2006
Meticulously compiled and presented, this documentary shows the history of Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, founded by Blum and Colonel de Basil in 1932 after the death of Diaghilev in 1929. It depicts its initial success, a break-up of the company into two separate entities (Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Original Ballet Russe), their escape to the US after the outbreak of the World War II, their major success there and their eventual demise.
It is a fascinating documentay about the legendary ballet company, and is full of interesting anecdotes about various personalities including Diaghilev, Massine, Fokine and Balanchine. It has many interviews with former leading dancers, including Alicia Markova, Nathalie Krassovska, Irina Baronova (one of the "baby ballerinas"), Frederic Franklin and George Zoritch, interspersed with many photos and archive film clips. Furthermore, there are generous extras, including a photo gallery and archive materials. Those interested in ballet history will find it totally absorbing.
In one of the interviews, Alicia Markova says "We weren't paid (by Ballets Russes)..... But, think how (artistically) rich I am, working with those choreographers!" I think this says it all about great dancers.
What strikes the viewer is that all the former dancers interviewed have such a marvellous personality and are full of wit and humour. Some of them are still teaching dance students around the world, passing their art to the younger generation. Sadly a few of them have passed away since the film was produced.
Just one point about the title - I was expecting to see a documentary about Ballets Russes of Diaghilev as well as Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. I don't think the title is accurate enough: it should have been "Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo" in order to describe the contents more precisely.