A Celebration from Diaghilev to Balanchine

December 16, 2009, 6:30 p.m.
Embassy of the Russian Federation, Washington, D.C.

International Firebird Arts Foundation is proud to join the worldwide centennial celebration of Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. Established in 1909, the Ballet Russes became one of the most influential ballet companies of the 20th century. Diaghilev's innovative collaborations brought together world-renowned dancers and choreographers such as, Pavlova, Nijinsky, Fokine, Lifar and Balanchine, melding together the music of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Debussy and Ravel along with the inspiring artistry of Picasso and Matisse.

Suzanne Farrell
Photo by Paul Kolnik

The celebration, under the Honorary Patronage of H.E. Ambassador and Mrs. Sergey Kislyak and The Honorable Esther Coopersmith, Honorary Chair, will celebrate the genius of Serge Diaghilev and the enduring legacy of George Balanchine, one of the greatest choreographers in the history of ballet.

The evening's program will feature Suzanne Farrell, who throughout the nearly three decades of her performing career, was one of the most influential American ballerinas of the late 20th century as well as George Balanchine's most celebrated muses. Ms. Farrell is the Artistic Director of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Members of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet will perform highlights from Balanchine's Apollo, first performed in 1928 by the Ballet Russes in Paris and by The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in 2001.

Sara Ivan and Michael Cook in Apollo.
Photo by David Bazemore 2009

The program will also feature author Suzanne Massie, whose books on Russian history and art are best sellers at home and throughout the world. Her works include, "Land of the Firebird," "Pavlovsk" and "Nicholas and Alexandra," on which she worked with her former husband Robert K Massie.

Special guest appearance by prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova of the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater, currently on tour in London and Paris. Kolesnikova, a graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, is the recipient of numerous Russian and international prizes. She is one of the most exciting new sensations coming from the St. Petersburg ballet world in recent years.

A special Ballet Russes exhibit will be on loan for the evening from the Music Division of the Library of Congress.

Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarships for Russian students to attend "Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell," a summer residency program for young dancers in Washington, D.C.

Press contact: Enid Burki, Director of Media,
International Firebird Arts Foundation,
(301) 365-2737