Zeitgeist Films | Ballets Russes
Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Film Info
118 mins
Color and B&W
In English
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound: Stereo surround
Rating: Not Rated

Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have fashioned a dazzlingly entrancing ode to the revolutionary twentieth-century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes. What began as a group of Russian refugees who never danced in Russia became not one but two rival dance troupes who fought the infamous “ballet battles” that consumed London society before World War II.

BALLETS RUSSES maps the company’s Diaghilev-era beginnings in turn-of-the-century Paris--when artists such as Nijinsky, Balanchine, Picasso, Miró, Matisse, and Stravinsky united in an unparalleled collaboration--to its halcyon days of the 1930s and ’40s, when the Ballets Russes toured America, astonishing audiences schooled in vaudeville with artistry never before seen, to its demise in the 1950s and ’60s when rising costs, rocketing egos, outside competition, and internal mismanagement ultimately brought this revered company to its knees.

Directed with consummate invention and infused with juicy anecdotal interviews from many of the company’s glamorous stars, BALLETS RUSSES treats modern audiences to a rare glimpse of the singularly remarkable merger of Russian, American, European, and Latin American dancers, choreographers, composers, and designers that transformed the face of ballet for generations to come. — Sundance Film Festival, 2005


Read the New York Times review of Ballets Russes star Irina Baronova's brand new autobiography:Irina: Ballet, Life and Love

Bios of the Ballets Russes dancers featured in the film

A gallery of Ballets Russes photos and artwork

A list of the ballets danced by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in their seasons in Paris

A gallery of Ballets Russes photographs (among others) by Maurice Seymour

Photos from the Ballets Russes reunion in New Orleans

Dance Magazine article on the reunion

Geller and Goldfine's previous dance film ISADORA DUNCAN: MOVEMENT FROM THE SOUL is now available on DVD

Other links of interest

Classical Dance Alliance-"Raising the barre on ballet schooling"

Russian folk dance and music ensemble Barynya from New York City

Vaganova Summer School and Master Classes
Professional Ballet Instruction in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Director: Mansur Kamaletdinov, formerly of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets.