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  • Title
    Max Dupain : Australian tours of the Ballets Russes, Kirsova Ballet, Bodenwieser Ballet, Valentin Zeglovsky and Sydney Dance Company : photographs and photonegatives
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    Photographs - 663 photoprints (chiefly contact prints) - 20.5 x 25.5 cm. or smaller (2 12 x 16 cm. photoprints)
    Photographs - 816 photonegatives - 12 x 16 cm. or smaller

    Between 1936 and 1940 three Ballets Russes companies, under the direction of entrepreneur Colonel Wassily de Basil, visited Australia. The Monte Carlo Russian Ballet toured between 1936 and 1937, the Covent Garden Russian Ballet from 1938 to 1939 and the Original Ballet Russe between 1939-1940. A number of dancers, notably Eduoard Borovansky, Helene Kirsova and Kira Bousloff, stayed in or returned to Australia. Kirsova founded the Kirsova Ballet, Borovansky the Borovansky Ballet and Bousloff West Australian Ballet. Other Australians, Valrene Tweedie for example, joined the Ballets Russes companies and travelled overseas with them, returning later to make a lasting contribution to Australian dance.
    The Ballets Russes companies brought with them a panorama of choreography, music and design of a kind not previously seen in Australia, some of which linked directly back to the Ballet Russe company run by Serge Diaghilev. The influence of the de Basil Ballets Russes on the development of the arts in Australia was significant and long-lasting.
    KIRSOVA BALLET (1940-1944)
    Danish ballerina Helene Kirsova opened her School of Russian Ballet in Sydney in 1940. In 1941 she founded the first professional ballet company in Australia, the Kirsova Ballet. It debuted at the Sydney Conservatorium in two ballets by Kirsova, "A Dream and a fairy tale" (music: Chopin) & "Vieux Paris" (music: Offenbach, J.Strauss II), and Massine's "Les Matelots".
    The initial company of 16 dancers was headed by Kousnetzova, Shaievsky, Sobishevsky and Tchinarova, all from Covent Garden Russian Ballet 1938-1939 and included Australians Strelsa Heckelman and Henry Legerton. By the end of 1941, Serge Bousloff and New Zealander Peggy Sager, had joined the Company.
    In 1942 and 1943, the Kirsova Ballet and the Borovansky Ballet both performed, the Borovansky presenting the first entirely Australian ballet "Sea legend".
    Kirsova was offered financial backing by J.C. Williamson but decided to remain independent. Williamson's therefore turned to Borovansky who offered full-time employment. After losing many of her best dancers, Kirsova Ballet gave its last professional performance in Brisbane in May 1944. Kirsova had been rehearsing an Australian ballet "Waltzing Matilda" (music: Charles Mackerras).
    In 1947 Kirsova left Australia and Australia lost an important link with the Ballets Russes and the Imperial Russian Ballet, under whose stars she had trained.
    BODENWIESER BALLET (1939-1958)
  • Scope and Content
    A 1939 London revue "Around the clock" included a modern dance specialty from the Bodenwieser Dance Group, founded by Gertrud Bodenwieser. Gertrud Bodenwieser was touring Colombia with another of her companies and returned with New Zealand dancer Shona Dunlop after the tour to Wellington. The Bodenwieser group had decided to stay in Australia after their tour. Bodenwieser joined the group which, as the International Streamlined Ballet, made its first appearance in a play at the Minerva Theatre, Sept 1939. Renamed the Bodenwieser Ballet (spelt "Bodenveeser" at one stage to ensure correct pronunciation!) the company worked in Sydney, taking odd jobs to survive.
    J.C. Williamson gave them a tour in 1940 to Melbourne, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania and once they shared the bill with the Original Ballet Russe. They toured NSW in 1941 and continued to tour extensively in Australia, but also visited New Zealand, India, South Africa and Rhodesia. In 1954 they performed in the gala for Queen Elizabeth at the Tivoli and two of Bodenwieser's ballets were televised in 1958. Gertrud Bodenwieser died in Nov 1959, but her heritage lives in modern ballet in Australia.
    Valentin Zeglovsky was a de Basil dancer 1936-1939. In Jan 1942 he joined the Kirsova company during its Melbourne season which began at His Majesty's Theatre. He stayed in Australia and was one of the de Basil dancers who contributed to Australian ballet.
    The Dance Company was founded in 1965 by Suzanne Musitz (Davidson), originally as a dance-in-education group, performing as Ballet in a Nutshell, then Athletes and Dancers. Jaap Flier took over direction in 1975-1976. Graeme Murphy became artistic director in 1976, changing the name to Sydney Dance Company in 1979.
    Under Murphy and his associate director Janet Vernon, the company was still (2002) a major Australian contemporary dance group, dancing original works, largely Australian.

    ON 247


    Arnold Haskell (“liaison officer”)
    Valentin Froman
    Helene Kirsova
    Nina Raievska and Leon Woizikovsky (photographed together)
    Lelia Roussova
    Elizabeth Souvorova
    Olga Valevska
    Olga Philippov and her mother
    Tamara Tchinarova, 25 prints, (could also be taken on Tour 3)

    Ballets (12)

    Carnaval, Youskevitch and Blinova, and unidentified dancer (2 of these are negs only)
    Beau Danube, Blinova and Froman
    Swan Lake, Blinova
    Le Soleil de Nuit, no dancer identified
    Spectre de la Rose, Branitska, Guerard, Blinova
    Les Cents Baisers, Roussova, Nina and Igor Youskevitch
    Les Presages, Tchinarova, and Woizikovska
    Les Sylphides, Irina Wassileva (could be tour 2)
    Petrouchka, Kirsova
    Scuola di ballo, rehearsal and male dancer unidentified (could also be either tour 2 or 3)
    Thamar, Nina Raievska, Leon Woizikokovsky
    Le Mariage d’Aurore, Nina Youchkevitch

    Yura (Yurek) Lazkovsky (could also have been taken on tour 3 as he came then too)
    Ludmila Lvova (could also be tour 3)
    Paul Petrov (SL guide gives date of photo as 1938 although he also came on tour 3, ie 1939-40)

    Ballets (9)

    Choreartium, Irina Baronova, Tamara Grigorieva (Grigorieva could be on tour 3 as she came on that tour and Choreartium was repeated on that tour). Of these 7 photos, one neg only
    Jeux d’enfants, Tatiana Riabouchinska and Anton Dolin
    La Concurrence , no dancer listed
    Le Coq d’or, (could also be tour 3)
    Les Cents Baisers, Paul Petrov (could also be tour 3) (one is a neg only)
    Les Femmes de bonne humeur, Tamara Grigorieva and Riabouchinska, (could also be tour 3)
    Prince Igor, Oleg Tupine (could also be tour 3)
    Scheherazade, Sono Osato, (could be tour 3)
    Les Dieux Mendicants, Ludmila Lvova, Sono Osato, Riabouchinska, Jasinsky (could also be tour 3)

    15 negs only
    Helene Lineva
    Nina Popova
    Kira Bounina
    Tatiana Bechenova
    Sonia Orlova
    Marguerite Gontcharova
    Alexandre Philippov (manager)
    Natasha Melnikova
    David Lichine
    Vassily Nicolaiev
    Olga Morosova?
    Lubov Tchernicheva?
    Nina Verchinina
    Tatiana Riabouchinska
    Narcisse Matouchak

    Colonel de Basil
    George Skibine and Sono Osato
    Tatiana Stepanova
    Tamara Toumanova
    Vassily Tupine

    OUTDOOR pics (3)
    Ludmila Lvova, French’s Forest
    Tamara Toumanova and Paul Petrov, Swan Lake, French’s Forest, 17 photos
    Swan Lake, Mona Vale, Toumanova and Petrov, 27 photos, of these 16 are negs

    Ballets (8)
    Cimarosiana, Tatiana Grigoieva and Ivan Ivangine
    Francesca da Rimini, no dancers identified
    Icare, no dancers identified
    Le Beau Danube, Ludmila Lvova
    Swan Lake, Tamara Toumanova and Serge Lifar
    Les Sylphides, Toumanova and Petrov in park (12 negs and of these, 9 photoprints)
    Paganini, Dimitri Rostroff and Tatiana Riabouchinska
    Le Mariage de’Aurore, Tamara Toumanova

    Research supplied by Valerie Lawson, October 2011
  • System of arrangement
    This collection comprises 77 record series. You may navigate to a more detailed description of each series from this collection record.
  • General note

    Dancing round the world / Arnold L. Haskell -- Gollancz, 1937
    De Basil's Ballets Russes / Katherine S. Walker -- 1982
    The Ballets Russes / Vincent Garcia-Marquez -- 1980
    The Home Magazine -- Sydney, 1937
    Ballet in Australia : the second act 1940-80 / E.H. Pask -- 1982
    Pioneering ballet in Australia / P. Bellew (ed.) -- 1945
    From studio to stage : costumes & designs from the Russian Ballet in the Australian National Gallery / by Robin Healy & Michael Lloyd -- 1990
    From Russia with love : costumes for the Ballets Russes 1909-1933 / Susan Hall (ed.) -- 1999
    Entertaining Australia : an illustrated history / Katharine Brisbane -- 1991
    Enter the colonies dancing : a history of dance in Australia 1835-1940 / Edward H. Pask -- 1979
    [JCW] Covent Garden Russian Ballet programme [New Zealand tour], 1939 (includes ballets, photographs and cast lists) [ML MSS Y954]
    Col. W. de Basil's Ballet : souvenir [program], Australia-New Zealand, 1939-1940 / compiled by Claude Kingston -- [1939] (includes Max Dupain photographs)
    Michelle Potter, "Mutual fascination: the Ballets Russes tours to Australia, 1936-1940" in Brolga, 11 (Dec 1999), pp.7-15
    "Last baby ballerina champions change" [Irina Baronova] in Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2001, p.15
    Pioneering ballet in Australia / P.Bellew (ed.) -- 1945
    Ballet in Australia : the second act, 1940-1980 / E.H. Pask -- 1982
    "Dancer's fame endured" [Peggy Sager obituary] in The Australian, 20 Aug 2002, p.13
    A collector's book of Australian dance / Michelle Potter. Canberra : National Library of Australia, 2002
    Ballets Russes [film] / Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller. Surry Hills : Hopscotch (Aust. dist.), 2006
  • Signatures / Inscriptions

    Photographs titled on reverse by National Gallery of Australia
  • Topic

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