The programme of events is now well underway and this week I took Jennifer and Constance who will be running the Diaghilev Designs:Silk Scarves workshops sessions (starting 26 October)round the exhibition. There is so much to inspire in the exhibition. I also contributed to the Art Deco Design course and participants were then able to go into spot the Art Deco elements in the Ballets Russes for themselves.
Sunday sees the start of ENB’s residency Rephrasing Ballets Russes at the V&A with such fascinating sessions as ‘Costume Stimulus’ with designer Fabrice Serafino and choreographer Hubert Essakow 11-12 and a lecture on choreography in the 1920s for the Ballets Russes focusing on Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine 13.00-14.00 all in the lecture theatre.
The Royal Ballet in Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces photo by Graham Brandon
Meanwhile last weekend Keith Lodwick ran an Inspired by Diaghilev/ set design workshop. This used the set design and backcloths in the exhibition as a starting point for inspiration. Keith told me he began the workshop with a brief history of the company and an all too brief look at the exhibition. They focused on the front and back cloths and in particular Natalia Goncharova’s design for 1926 revival of The Firebird with its onion domes and minarets. They then returned to the Sackler Centre Art Studio to begin to turning their designs into realised set models. Keith focussed the group to think about city landscapes and how this design brief might relate into a set design or backcloth.
Over the next few hours paper drawings were turned into realised models. The challenge for the group was to think in 3D and build model pieces that would support the dancers or actors in a performance space.
The range of designs created was wonderful: bold geometric graphics along with more subtle and detailed drawings demonstrated the participant’s skill. It is always impressive to see what can be created in such a short period of time. Diaghilev and his artistic collaborators continue to inspire designers 80 years after the event. Pictures of this are promised shortly.