Beginning in Paris in 1909, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company set milestones both in the development of choreography and the development of dance technique. Diaghilev’s vision was of ‘total’ works of art in which all the elements – dance, music, visual arts, literature/philosophy and décor – were given equal status; in which collaboration between artists and their disciplines became both the ideal and the model. Choreographers and dancers who worked for the Ballets Russes included Massine, Michel Fokine, George Balanchine, Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky.
Diaghilev commissioned composers of the calibre of Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Sergey Prokofiev, while artists such as Picasso, Leon Bakst, and Henri Matisse created stage designs for him.
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