A number of Ballets Russes companies were formed in the wake of the dissolution of Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russe following his death in 1929. Between 1936 and 1940 three of these companies visited Australia in tours orchestrated by the entrepreneur Colonel Wassily de Basil. The first, a company assembled in London by de Basil and billed as '(Colonel W. de Basil's) Monte Carlo Russian Ballet', toured for nine months between 1936 and 1937. Its sixty-two dancers were drawn largely from the Ballets de Leon Woizikowsky, augmented by artists from de Basil's own company, and from Rene Blum's Ballets de Monte Carlo.
The second tour, which took place over seven months between 1938 and 1939, was by the 'Covent Garden Russian Ballet, presented by Educational Ballets Ltd'. In essence, this was the de Basil company of the time. The use of the title 'Educational Ballets Ltd' related to the need for de Basil to formally distance himself from company management during a legal dispute with the Ballets de Monte Carlo, the company that had been founded by Rene Blum following his split with de Basil in 1935. By 1938, the Ballets de Monte Carlo was based in America under the direction of Sergei Denham with the financial backing of Universal Art. An attempted merger between this company and that of de Basil early in 1938 ended acrimoniously, with ensuing legal challenges by Universal Art over the copyright of particular works. Prior to this, legal challenges to de Basil over copyright had also been instigated by Leonide Massine during his 1937 move from the de Basil to the rival company as artistic director. Michel Fokine, originally ballet master and choreographer for Blum had, also in 1937, moved in the other direction, joining de Basil. A feature of this second Australian tour was the presence of Fokine, supervising the production of his own ballets.
For the third tour, Colonel de Basil assembled a company that, in addition to his English-based dancers, included a number who were stranded in America on the outbreak of war. These two groups were united in Australia, forming the company that was most commonly referred to as 'The Original Ballet Russe', although it was also billed as 'Colonel W. de Basil's Covent Garden Ballet' and 'Colonel W. de Basil's Ballet Company'. De Basil himself accompanied this tour, which began in December 1939 and, although originally planned to be of ten weeks duration, was, due to the complexities of the war, extended until September 1940.
The Ballets Russes companies brought with them a panorama of choreography, music and design of a kind not previously seen in Australia. Works such as Scheherazade and Le Spectre de la Rose linked directly back to the Diaghilev repertoire, with some, such as Aurora's Wedding, extending that link back to the Tsarist Russian period. Ballets such as Les Presages and Cotillon introduced Australian audiences to works that post-dated the Diaghilev era. Five ballets, including David Lichine's Graduation Ball, received world premieres in Australia. In all, a stunning range of forty-four works, most of them Australian premieres, was presented over the three tours.
The influence of the de Basil Ballets Russes on the development of the arts in Australia was important and long-lasting. The heightening of audience interest was significant. A more tangible impact resulted from the choice of a number of dancers, notably Edouard Borovansky, Helene Kirsova, Kira and Serge Bousloff, Tamara Tchinarova, and a group of Polish dancers - Raisse Kouznetsova, Valery Shaievsky and Edouard Sobishevsky, to stay in or return to Australia. Kirsova founded the Kirsova Ballet, Borovansky the Borovansky Ballet, Bousloff the West Australian Ballet and Kouznetsova and her colleagues the Polish Australian Ballet. A few Australians joined the Ballets Russes companies. Valrene Tweedie, for example, joined the Original Ballet Russe in 1940 and travelled overseas with the company, returning later after performing in North and South America to make a lasting contribution to Australian dance.
In 2006, the National Library of Australia, the Australian Ballet and the University of Adelaide embarked on a four-year collaborative project - Ballets Russes in Australia: Our Cultural Revolution. This project focused on the impact and legacy of the Ballets Russes Australian tours, and culminated in 2009, the centenary of the founding of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris. The project's website includes details of events and performances that celebrate the tours as well as listing resources relating to the tours and their impact on Australian culture. A further brief discussion, with online resources, of the Ballets Russes tours to Australia and the context in which they occurred is contained in the National Library of Australia's exhibition Dance people dance. See 'Early touring companies' for an overview of the context in which the tours occurred, and 'Artistic impact' for a discussion of their influence.
A finding aid to the National Library's programs and ephemera material relating to the Ballets Russes is at 'Australian Performing Arts (PROMPT) Collection: The Ballets Russes in Australasia, 1936-1940'. This finding aid provides details of the Library's holdings of programs and other printed items, and includes a chronology of the three tours, a full listing of the ballets performed in Australia, and lists of the personnel involved in each tour. Digitised images of the programs, cast lists and related ephemera in the Prompt collection are available online at 'The Ballets Russes in Australasia, 1936-1940: a holdings list'.
For a listing of resources relating to the Ballets Russes tours to Australia and to the influence the tours had on the development of the arts in Australia see 'Ballets Russes Project: Resources'. A number of articles relating to the Ballets Russes Australian tours can also be viewed at the website 'Michelle Potter on dancing'.
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Collection of photographs taken by Hugh P. Hall of 30 ballet productions performed by the Covent Garden Russian Ballet (toured Australia 1938-1939) and the Original Ballet Russe (toured Australia 1939-1940). These are the second and third of the three Ballets Russes companies which toured Australasia between 1936 and 1940. The photographs were taken from a seat in the circle of His Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne and mounted on cardboard for display purposes. For conservation and storage, the photographs have been demounted. The original arrangement of the photographs has been recorded, and details are available from the Pictures Branch of the National Library. For more about the acquisition of the collection by the National Library of Australia see 'New Light on the Ballets Russes' in National Library of Australia News, October 2007.
This collection of images comprises photographs showing dancers of the touring Ballets Russes companies and dancers of the Kirsova Ballet and the Bodenwieser Ballet. Ballets Russes dancers and personnel include Irina Baronova, Colonel de Basil, Helene Kirsova, David Lichine, Serge Lifar, Sono Osato, Paul Petroff, Tamara Tchinarova, Tamara Toumanova and Igor Youskevitch. Ballets represented include L'Apres-midi d'un faune, Le Carnaval, Choreartium, Les Femmes de bonne humeur, Scheherazade, Le Spectre de La Rose and Le lac des cygnes (Swan Lake). Other images in the collection were taken at Frenchs Forest, a suburb of Sydney, and show Ludmilla Lvova, Tamara Toumanova and Paul Petroff in outdoor studies. Kirsova material includes portraits of Kirsova and scenes from some Kirsova productions. Bodenwieser material comprises outdoor studies.
The photos in this collection were printed by Dupain from his collection of negatives. Dupain signed them and dated them 1938 although in fact the images span the period 1936 to c. 1942 and were printed in 1990 for the exhibition, Max Dupain's Dancers.
Photographs, newspaper clippings, cards, programmes, broadsheets and notes relating to Baronova's ballet career. Descriptive list available. MS Acc09/030 Includes typed drafts of two autobiographical book manuscripts written by German Sevastianov, Irina Baronova's first husband. One binder titled "Russian Ballet Period & Ballet Theartre" contains 150 typed one-sided pages. Second binder is titled "Ballet Period 1933 - Till War in U.S.A." containing 55 typed one-sided pages. Possibly various drafts of same manuscript. Available for research. Not for loan.
This collection of letters, photographs, clippings, programs, and other items records the career of Elisabeth Souvorova. Souvorova (real name Betty Frank nee Scorer) danced in Australia with the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet and before that in Europe with Les Ballets de Leon Woizikowsky. The largest part of the collection consists of letters and postcards written by Souvorova while on tour in Australia and New Zealand. These letters record details of the tour and impressions of Australia from a dancer's perspective. Further information relating to the scope and content, including digital content, of the papers can be found at Maroussia Richardson Collection.
These papers record incidents relating to the death of Mira Dimina in Adelaide in 1936 and the efforts that were made in the 1980s to repair and restore her grave. Dimina (real name Madeleine Parker, born Fitchbury, Massachusetts in 1912) came to Australia with the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet in 1936 and died in Adelaide shortly after her arrival of previously undiagnosed leukemia. Her grave was restored in the 1980s by the efforts of the Adelaide dance community under the leadership of Meg Denton.
The papers of Tamara Finch document her career as a dancer with particular emphasis on her activities in Australia, which included working with the Ballets Russes touring companies, the Borovansky Ballet, the Kirsova Ballet and the Polish-Australian Ballet and some film work with her husband Peter Finch. Other material relates to her work as an interpreter for ballet companies, including the Australian Ballet during its tour to Russia in 1988, and to her career as a dance writer. The collection includes photographs, programs and papers. Further information relating to the scope and content, including digital content, of the papers can be found at MS 7223 - Papers of Tamara Finch.
The papers in MS Acc09.027 document Valrene Tweedie's professional life as a dancer and choreographer in Australia and overseas. They include news cuttings, photographs, programs, correspondence, publications, and business, financial and legal papers and writings (7 boxes, 1 fol. box).
The papers of Algeranoff (full name Harcourt Algernon Leighton Essex) contain a considerable amount of material relating to Anna Pavlova, whose company Algeranoff joined in 1921. With the Pavlova company Algeranoff toured North America, Asia and Europe and came with her to Australia on both the 1926 and 1929 tours. Material in his collection relating to Pavlova includes contracts, business correspondence, programs and clippings, photographs, notes for Algeranoff's book My Years with Pavlova, and an extensive archive of letters written by Algeranoff to his mother during his travels with the Pavlova company. Other material relates to other companies with which Algeranoff danced including various Ballets Russes companies, the Borovansky Ballet, the International Ballet and the Australian Ballet. Material relating to Algeranoff's family is also included. Further information relating to the scope and content, including digital content, of the papers can be found at Papers of Harcourt Algeranoff.
This scrapbook is part of the papers of Algeranoff. It focuses largely on Algeranoff's career with the Ballets Russes in South America in the 1940s and includes images and reviews, largely in Spanish, of his performances in a variety of works including Les Presages, Le Coq d'or and Le Carnaval. Some material relating to his performances with Anna Pavlova is also included.
Six handwritten dairies. The diaries contain details of Shirley Baker's daily life and activities while growing up in Brisbane. Recorded in the diaries is Shirley's impressions of the Ballets Russes performances which she saw in Brisbane at that time.
This collection contains significant policy documents and correspondence relating to the establishment and early years of the Australian Ballet. Other material includes papers concerning the history of the Borovansky Ballet and the careers of Edouard Borovansky and Xenia Borovansky. Further information relating to the scope and content of the papers can be found at MS 7336 - Papers of Geoffrey Ingram
The salary book contains mounted, typed salary sheets, memoranda, and an index to performers and shows for J.C. Williamson's Australian and New Zealand productions between 1933 and 1943. The book shows the salaries of performers in the cited productions together with royalties, commissions, and travelling allowances. Dance artists whose salaries are recorded include Moya Beaver for her performances in Funny Side Up; the Bodenweisers (sic), a group of dancers from the Bodenwieser Ballet who, unable to return to Vienna at the outbreak of war, had arrived in Australia in 1939 to perform as a 'specialty act' in the J. C. Williamson revues Casino Revue and Around the Clock; Charles Boyd for his appearances in The Sleeping Beauty; the Covent Garden Russian Ballet (orchestral and stage staff); the Dandre-Levitoff Russian Ballet (orchestral staff); Minnie Everett (various engagements); Kirsova Ballet (list of company members who travelled to Melbourne in 1944); Edna Luscombe (Edgley) (various engagements); the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet (orchestral staff); and the Original Ballet Russe (orchestral staff). In addition to these specific individuals, the salary book also indicates the wages paid to corps de ballet dancers and choreographers in a variety of Williamson productions.
One component of the Margaret Walker Dance Archives consists of albums of photographs of the second and third Ballets Russes tours to Australia. Many of the photographs were on sale to ballet fans in theatre foyers during the Ballets Russes tours. Walker was especially fond of Irina Baronova and many of the photographs are of her in both casual situations and in particular roles. Description of the scope of the complete Margaret Walker collection and a detailed contents list, including a list of photographs in the Ballets Russes albums, is available at MS 8495 - Records of the Margaret Walker Dance Archives.
This collection documents the career of Moya Beaver, dancer and teacher. The material includes scrapbooks, letters, magazines, photographs. It covers in particular Beaver's career with the First Australian Ballet of Louise Lightfoot and Mischa Burlakov in the 1930s and with the J. C. Williamson organisation in the 1940s. It also documents her brief performing career in Denmark and her longstanding friendship with dancer Gordon Hamilton. Photographic material also includes images of dancers from the Ballets Russes companies that toured Australia between 1936 and 1940. Dancers of the Ballets Russes companies who are repesented photographically include Tatiana Riabouchinska, David Lichine, Tamara Tchinarova Finch, Leon Woizikowsky, Sonia Woizikowska, Lubov Tchernicheva, Helene Kirsova and Valentina Blinova. Further information relating to the scope and content, including digital content, of the papers can be found at Papers of Moya Beaver.
Two scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings and magazine excerpts relating to the second and third tours to Australia by the Ballets Russes companies, namely the Covent Garden Russian Ballet and the Original Ballet Russe. Other clippings in the scrapbooks refer to the Australian companies that developed after the Ballets Russes tours, in particular the Borovansky Ballet and the Kirsova Ballet. Some of the Australian dancers mentioned are Laurel Martyn, Rachel Cameron, Dorothy Stevenson and Edna Busse.
This annotated diary of ballet events in Australia was compiled by S. Gans. It records tours by the Melbourne-based Borovansky Ballet to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The diary includes programs for performances and mentions a number of the Borovansky Ballet's leading artists of the period, including Kathleen Gorham, Peggy Sager, Jocelyn Vollmar and Vassilie Trunoff. There is also some material relating to Robert Helpmann in the film Tales of Hoffmann and Ballets Russes dancer Tamara Toumanova in her role in the film Tonight We Sing.
'The Ballet Russes in Australia 1936-1940: sources for modernism in Australian art' is the BA Hons thesis of Michelle Potter submitted to the Australian National University in 1987. In addition to the text it contains a chronology and repertoire list for the Australian tours by the Ballet Russes companies: the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet, the Covent Garden Russian Ballet and the Original Ballet Russe.
A finding aid to the National Library's programs and ephemera material relating to the Ballets Russes is at 'Australian Performing Arts (PROMPT) Collection: The Ballets Russes in Australasia, 1936-1940'. This finding aid provides details of the Library's holdings of programs and other printed items, and includes a chronology of the three tours, a full listing of the ballets performed in Australia, and lists of the personnel involved in each tour. Digitised images of the programs, cast lists and related ephemera in the Prompt collection are available online at 'The Ballets Russes in Australasia, 1936-1940: a holdings list'
Anna Volkova begins this interview with a discussion of her family background and her early dance training in Paris with former Russian Imperial ballerinas Olga Preobrajenska and Lubov Egorova. She continues with an in depth discussion of her career as a dancer with de Basil's Ballets Russes giving an account of the many tours she made with the companies, including two to Australia in 1938-1939 and 1939-1940. She discusses the symphonic ballets of Leonide Massine, including Les Presages and Choreartium, de Basil's skills as an entrepreneur and the importance to the company of Serge Grigoriev. She speaks about some of her favourite roles including the first waltz in Les Sylphides and the Golden Cockerel in Le Coq d'or. Other people she speaks about include choreographers Michel Fokine and David Lichine, and cinematographers Dr Ewan Murray-Will and Dr Joseph Ringland Anderson. Volkova concludes the interview with an account of the infamous Ballets Russes strike in Cuba in the early 1940s and her family life after moving to Australia to marry.
Annette Gillen talks about her early childhood interest in dance and her parents' reaction; her mother's connections with Ballets Russes tours (1930's); her first teacher, Helene Kirsova; her childhood memories of de Basil Ballets Russes performances; the links between Borovansky Ballet and the Ballets Russes; her break from dance and subsequent return to ballet classes and performing; auditioning for the Borovansky Company; dancing with the Borovansky Company; "Symphonie fantastique"; David Lichine and other choreographers of the Borovansky company; programming and conductors for the company; "Les Sylphides"; the audience response to Ballets Russes and the Borovansky companies; class and preparation with the company; dancing with the Kirsova company; relationships between early companies, Australian choreographers and benefactors; her family's interest in the visual arts. Gillen discusses her relationship with Tamara Tchinarova and Peter Finch; the movement of dancers from the Kirsova to the Borovansky companies; the legacy of the Ballets Russes tours; the Australian Ballet's "Revolutions" program; compares preparation, facilities, demands, injuries and physical attributes of dancers today and in her era; the Borovansky dancers' strike; travelling with the Borovansky company around Australia; meeting her future husband; relationships within the company; Margot Fonteyn; her relationship with Edouard Borovansky; her departure from the company; her life after marriage: the lasting friendships formed during her dancing years.
Barbara Hardy talks about her introduction to ballet and the Ballets Russes as a child in Adelaide; watching and participating in Ballets Russes performances and classes; Colonel W. de Basil; her ballet teacher Dorothy Slane; her thoughts on the demolition of the Theatre Royal Adelaide; her life after giving up ballet following the Ballets Russes tour; attending university and her work with the CSIRO; her marriage; her ongoing interest in ballet and dance; family life after the birth of her children; the Hardy family; the history of the Hardy vineyards and the South Australian wine industry; the interests of her mother-in-law Eileen Hardy; her work for the Nature Foundation S.A.; her ongoing involvement with institutions promoting scientific education; the importance of conservation to Australia; further on the Ballets Russes and its dancers.
Irina Baronova speaks briefly about her experiences in Australia as a dancer with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet. She talks about the film maker Dr Joe Ringland Anderson and about the impact the company had in Australia.
Irina Baronova, born 1919, in Petrograd, speaks about her family history; the Russian revolution and the effects on her family; ballet classes; seeing her first ballet performance; moving to Paris; her teachers, Imperial Ballet; Olga Preobrajenska, her teaching methods; ballet mothers, Mama Toumanova; the term 'baby ballerinas'; touring, London, Paris; diets; friendships; marriage; socialising with famous people; her workload, performing 9 times a week; Wassily de Basil; Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo; Australia tour (1938) with the Covent Garden Russian ballet; WWII; reaction to Australia, environment, audience reactions; Anna Volkova, Anna Barnes; Royal Academy of Dance; Maina Gielgud; Australian Ballet; company members who remained in Australia, Kira Bousloff and Edouard Borovansky; audience favourites, other repertoire and choreographers; press and criticism, critics' expectations of Ballets Russes dancing; U.S.A. tour; J.C. Williamsons. Baronova discusses working conditions, no unions; her education; her introduction to repertoire and choreographers early in her career; George Balanchine; restaging Les Sylphides (2006) for Revolutions program; working with Michel Fokine; Vaslav Nijinsky; Leonide Massine and the symphonic ballets; notable features of Massine's choreographic style; the abstract ballets 'Choreartium' and 'Les Presages'; the success of 'Symphonie fantastique' as a narrative ballet; Nina Verchinina; influences on the choreography of David Lichine, and the importance of a knowledge of music and art to choreography; Antal Dorati and other conductors for the Ballets Russes including Efrem Kurtz; Sir Thomas Beecham; audience reaction to the Ballets Russes extensive repertoire; her feelings on first joining the company; Tamara Karsavina.
Kira Abricossova Bousloff speaks about her career as a dancer with de Basil's Ballets Russes companies in England, the United States and Australia. She talks about repertoire and her fellow dancers and focuses on her arrival in Australia with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet in 1938 and her reasons for staying at the conclusion of that tour. The interview also deals with Bousloff's family background and early dance training in Paris and her work in Perth establishing West Australian Ballet.
Kiril Vassilkovsky born 1919, in Latvia, talks about his family background; his childhood in Latvia; childhood in England where his family moved when he was four years of age; his early involvement in ballet; being taught by Marie Rambert and Igor Schwezoff; financial arrangements and dancing for Igor Schwezoff; auditioning for Col. De Basil; being engaged by De Basil to tour Australia for the 1939/40 tour by Ballet Russes; rehearsals on the ship to Australia; Serge Lifar; David Lichine; dancing the role of the Drummer in Graduation Ball with the Borovansky Ballet; the dancers who made up the original Ballet Russes; first impressions of Australia; the Sydney Season and a trip to The Blue Mountains; accommodation in Sydney; Serge Grigoriev; social and working life for Ballet Russes; the 'baby' ballerinas; the salary; touring the U.S.A for Sol Hurok; being stranded in Cuba; reforming the company in Cuba; six years touring South and Central America; maintaining performance standards on tour; his bid for American citizenship working as a free-lance dancer; rejoining the Ballet Russes for its second European tour. Vassilkovsky discusses the Original Ballet Russe tour of England, following the death of De Basil in 1950; the condition of the costumes and sets at this time; life after the Ballets Russes; working in the Marquis de Cuevas Ballet; working as assistant to Bronislava Nijinska; Edouard Borovansky; developing the ability to reproduce ballets; accepting Borovansky's invitation to join his ballet company as co-repetiteur; his responsibilities as co-repetiteur and co-artistic director; the standard of the Borovansky dancers; advice from Borovansky; recommencing with the Borovansky Ballet as a soloist; choreographing Candide; dancing with Kathleen Gorham; the attraction of choreography; life after the Borovansky Ballet; an invitation to work as a teacher with the West Australian Ballet; the impact of Rex Reid as artistic director of the West Australian Ballet; an invitation from Luis Moreno to choreograph; teaching; reflects on his accomplishments; his London encore of the role of the Drummer in Graduation Ball; life in the Borovansky Ballet compared to life in the Ballet Russes.
Lynne Golding discusses her role in the first full length Swan Lake in Australia for the National Theatre Ballet. The recording includes a discussion of Golding's approach to the interpretation of the role of Odette/Odile. Other material relates to Golding's dance training, including her work with Leon Kellaway in Australia and with Olga Preobrajenska in Paris, her family background, her work in Tivoli productions, and her career overseas. She also gives her recollections of the Ballets Russes visits to Australia and talks about her own choreography especially that made for Perth City Ballet.
Margaret Walker discusses the formation of her performing group Dance Concert. The interview is interspersed with Walker's thoughts on the concept of dance as life, on social dancing, on folk and character dancing, and on the dances of the Australian Aborigines. Also included is information about Walker's family, her interest in the Ballets Russes, the importance of the Borovansky Ballet and Edouard Borovansky and his wife Xenia in the development of dance in Australia.
In this interview Margaret Walker discusses many aspects of her life in dance and politics. She talks in depth about the dance and theatre scene in Melbourne in the 1940s referring in particular to the New Theatre, and also to the formation and demise of Dance Concert. Other companies and organisations discussed include the Kolobok folk dance company and Walker's own Margaret Walker Folk Dance Centre. Walker also talks about her early life and education in Victoria in the 1920s and 1930s and her introduction to dance through the Ballets Russes and the Borovansky Ballet.
Max Dupain speaks about the Ballets Russes dancers and the photographs he took of them between 1936 and 1940. He also discusses photography as an art and his philosophical approach to photography.
Noel Pelly begins this interview with a discussion of his family background, his first experiences watching performances by the touring Ballets Russes companies, and his Jesuit-influenced schooling. He goes on to discuss theatrical shows he saw as a young man and his early work experiences as a lawyer. He spends time talking about the next step in his career as a publicist, especially with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, and then goes on to discuss his long career with the Australian Ballet as its director of publicity, deputy administrator and administrator. He speaks about the links between the Australian Ballet and earlier companies, especially the Borovansky Ballet, the Australian Ballet's first overseas tour in 1965, early company repertoire, the appointment of Robert Helpmann as artistic director, the company's autonomy from the Trust, subsequent tours, the Australian Ballet dancers' strike of 1982, the company's various homes and the influence of guest appearances with the company by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. He speaks too about the artistic directors and company administrators with whom he worked including Geoffrey Ingram, Peter Bahen, Peggy van Praagh, Robert Helpmann, Anne Woolliams, Marilyn Jones and Maina Gielgud.
Perdita Eldridge talks about her adoption by (Elizabeth) Margaret Symon; Ballets Russes, Colonel W. de Basil (1932); the Depression, Sir Josiah Symon; the circumstances of the Symon family; the introduction of the Symon children to the arts; the interests and libraries of the youngest Symon son, Mary, Angel and Kilmeny Symon; her schooling; her mother's nursery school (Inn Nursery School); Mary Symon's interest in ballet; Henry Legerton; further on the Ballets Russes tour to the Adelaide Theatre Royal, sponsored by her mother; the tours by the Ballets Russes and the Royal Ballet; her memories of occasions in London with Henry Legerton and John Cranko; lessons from one of the Ballets Russes dancers during the Adelaide tour; presenting flower bouquets to Ballets Russes dancers during the Adelaide tour; the beginnings of her interest in puppets when in Perth; meeting her husband, William (Bill) Eldridge. Eldridge discusses touring in Salad days; studying and her experiences at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London; life in post war Britain, including rationing; the library and interests of (Elizabeth) Margaret Symon; the family of Sir Josiah Symon, in particular Mary and (Elizabeth) Margaret; the temperaments of Elizabeth (Margaret), Mary, Angel and Kilmeny Symon and her relationship with them; a personal tragedy and her divorce; the beginnings of her puppetry practice in England; her first puppet show in England; her continuing work as a puppeteer in England and Australia; returning to Australia (1972); life and her work as a puppeteer on her return to Australia; running puppeteer workshops in later life; Mary Symon and her involvement with puppets and the theatre; reflections on Australian culture and puppetry.
Tamara Tchinarova discusses her experiences in the Borovansky Ballet and records her thoughts about Edouard Borovansky as a director. The interview also includes a discussion of the Kirsova Ballet and its director Helene Kirsova, some material about Tchinarova's personal background and about her work with the Ballets Russes companies, and a brief discussion about reviving Leonide Massine's symphonic ballets, Les Presages and Choreartium.
In this interview Valrene Tweedie elaborates on some of the events and issues discussed in her earlier National Library interview conducted in 1988. In particular she talks about Leon Kellaway as a teacher, her audition for Colonel de Basil in Sydney in 1940, the de Basil Ballets Russes repertoire in Australia including Graduation Ball, her activities with the National Theatre Ballet including Tales of Hoffmann, her work Wakooka and the development of Ballet Australia. In the second part of the interview she discusses at some length her experiences as a dancer in Cuba and in the United States. Artists and works she refers to include the Alonso family, Luis Trapaga, Balanchine, Balustrade, Agnes de Mille, Les Presages, Fokine, Les Sylphides and Colonel de Basil.
Valrene Tweedie discusses her family background and her early dance training with Mischa Burlakov and Louise Lightfoot and later with Leon Kellaway. She talks about auditioning for the Original Ballet Russe in 1940 and her career as a dancer with the Ballets Russes companies in Australia and North and South America, and reflects on the influence on her of her guardian Nina Verchinina. She talks about returning to Australia and includes a discussion of her work as artistic director of the National Theatre Ballet. She speaks about her choreography, including her experiences with Elizabethan Opera Ballet. She talks about taking over the Australian Academy of Ballet, her teaching experiences and the founding and development of Ballet Australia. She speaks briefly about the creation of her dance work Wakooka.
Viola Tait speaks initially about growing up in Paisley, Scotland, and her early training at the Royal Academy of Music, Scotland. She goes on to talk about her employment with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. She speaks about accepting an offer from Nevin Tait to join J. C. Williamsons on a tour of Australia performing Gilbert and Sullivan works, and administrative developments within J. C. Williamsons and Australia-New Zealand Theatres. She discusses the Tait family, Minnie Everett, performing in The Dancing Years, her retirement, and her favorite roles. Tait also speaks about the purchasing of overseas shows by J. C. Williamsons, Tikki Taylor and Bill Newman, Edouard Borovansky and the relationship between the Borovansky Ballet and J. C. Williamsons, the engagement of the de Basil's Ballet Russes companies by J. C. Williamsons, the reasons behind the collapse of J. C. Williamsons, and the Sutherland-Williamson Opera Company seasons. She then speaks about the death of her husband Frank Tait, her children and grandchildren, and closes with a discussion of her collection of theatrical memorabilia, with particular reference to costume designs and the designer William R. Barnes.
National Library of Australia
MUS Symphony Australia Collection A/C SUT 05
For orchestra. Caption title. Duration: 4:00. Stamped on cover: Australian Broadcasting Commission Federal Library Sydney, and on p. : Guild of Australian Composers Victoria. "J & W Chester Ltd. London & Geneva No. 24"--Blind stamp on p.  Includes performance markings. An earlier version for piano was composed in 1939(?) In 1940, under dancer and choreographer Nina Verchinina, the piano version was used for 2 small-scale ballet perfomances, one a charity performance, by Col. W. de Basil's Ballet Russes. The work was orchestrated in 1941 and performed as a concert piece by Melbourne University Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. Also played at various ABC orchestral concerts in Melbourne and Sydney, 1942-1946. A modified version was later choreographed by Laurel Martyn, and was one of four new ballets performed by the Ballet Guild in the opening program of its first season on 5 Nov. 1946 at the Repertory Theatre, Middle Park, Melbourne. Digital master available; National Library of Australia, Music collection; This score is available for viewing online.
Location: National Library of Australia MUS Fitzmaurice 442 nla.cat-vn2779705
This musical score contains excerpts from David Lichine's ballet Graduation Ball as performed in Australia during the 1940 visit by the Original Ballet Russe. The score contains piano arrangements of 'Acceleration', 'Valse', 'Nocturne' and 'Drummer's Dance' and is accompanied by black and white photographic illustrations from the production. Graduation Ball ; Lichine, David
This piano score for 'Les Sylphides' was arranged by Leo Bartels and revised by Antal Dorati. It contains selections from the ballet as performed, according to the cover of the item, in Australia by the Covent Garden Russian Ballet.
Article in National Library of Australia News: Michelle Potter examines the impact that three touring Ballets Russes companies had on Australian audiences
Article in National Library of Australia News: Michelle Potter describes how the personal photograph albums of two
dancers reveal their personalities
Article in National Library of Australia News: As part of a project to celebrate the three tours to Australia by the Ballets Russes companies between 1936 and 1940, Michelle Potter examines a seminal fin de siecle art journal embodying the taste and dynamism of its editor, Serge Diaghilev