An array of events are being presented in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art’s ambitious “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced With Music” exhibit, which showcases some of the largest objects displayed at the museum. The exhibit opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 2. The museum is at Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215.

Dance Performances

Washington Ballet: Performances celebrating the Ballets Russes. June 9 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. East Building Mezzanine.

Kirov Academy of Ballet: Excerpts from Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird.” July 13 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. East Building Mezzanine.

DTSB &Co.: A suite of dances by Dana Tai Soon Burgess inspired by the Ballets Russes. Aug. 11 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. East Building Mezzanine.


Robert Berkman, pianist: Music from the ballets. Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. East Building Mezzanine.

Jean Cocteau. Vaslav Nijinsky from The Spirit of the Rose, poster for the opening season of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 1913 color lithograph. framed: 200 x 138.8 cm (78 3/4 x 54 5/8 in.) (V&A, London, Gift of)

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” adapted by the Ballets Russes for its 1910 season, and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” which the ballet premiered in May 1913. With Bowen McCauley Dance. May 19 at 6:30 p.m. East Building Atrium.

Michael Arnowitt, pianist: Music danced to by the Ballets Russes from Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Satie. June 16 at 6:30 p.m. West Building, West Garden Court.


“The Red Shoes.” Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s fusion of music, ballet, painting and cinema about a dancer who must choose between her art and her lover, starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook and Leonide Massine. With an introduction by Betty Low, who danced with Massine and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. May 31 at 1 p.m.

“Ballets Russes” A documentary presenting interviews and dance footage of the company from the Diaghilev-era early years in turn-of-the-century Paris to the American tours of the 1930s and 1940s and the troupe’s downfall in the 1960s. With introduction and post-film discussion by Anna Winestein, executive director of the Ballets Russes Cultural Partnership. May 31 at 3:45 p.m.


“When Art Danced With Music (and What It Wore).” Sarah Kennel, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art; and Jane Pritchard, curator of dance, Victoria and Albert Museum. June 2 at 2 p.m.

“Bronislava Nijinska: A Choreographer’s Journey.” Lynn Garafola, professor of dance, Barnard College, Columbia University. July 7 at 2 p.m.

“Dancing With the Stars: Works From the Collection of the National Gallery.” Diane Arkin, lecturer and manager of adult program docents, National Gallery of Art. July 14 at 2 p.m.

“The Rite of Spring: Race, Dance and Modernism in 1913.” Sarah Kennel, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art. July 21 at 2 p.m.

“Vaudeville and Popular Dance in American Art.” Wilford W. Scott, head of adult programs, National Gallery of Art. July 28 at 2 p.m.

“Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner: Little Dancers After Degas.” Maryanna Ramirez, curatorial assistant, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art. Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.

“Ideal or Idle: Peasant Dance From Breughel to the Ballet Russes.” Lorena Baines, lecturer, National Gallery of Art. Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.

Exhibition Film

A National Gallery-produced documentary explores the life of Serge Diaghilev’s Russian roots and the legacy of the Ballets Russes, presents new performances from productions of “Afternoon of a Faun,” “Scheherazade” and “The Prodigal Son,” music by Stravinsky, Satie, Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov, archival footage spanning 1909 to 1929, and new interviews with dance historian Lynn Garafola and conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Cafe Ballets Russes at the Gallery

Washington chef Michel Richard and Restaurant Associates present a themed menu inspired by the exhibition in the West Building Garden Cafe, combining French and Russian classics such as blinis, beef stroganoff, caviar and borscht.

Electronic Brochure

An electronic brochure explores the history of the Ballet Russes with documentary photographs and information on its personalities, including Michel Fokine, Tamara Karsavina, Vaslav Nijinksy, Igor Stravinsky, and Natalia Goncharova.

Audio Tour

The exhibition audio guide narrated by National Gallery Director Earl Powell will feature exhibition curator Jane Pritchard of the Victoria and Albert Museum and other noted scholars.

Gallery Talks

“Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music.” With David Gariff. May 29, 31, June 11, 13, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28–30 at 1 p.m. May 30, June 6, 7 at 2 p.m. East Building Information Desk.

“Fashion and the Ballets Russes: Costumes for a Modern World.” With Jon Frederick. June 15 at 2 p.m., July 11 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 17, 2 p.m. East Building Information Desk.