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RI's Festival Ballet Takes On Historic 'Ballets Russes' With Season Opener

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Festival Ballet Providence kicks off its 38th season later this week with a re-boot of programs from The Ballets Russes. The dances shocked the art...

Festival Ballet Providence kicks off its 38th season later this week with a re-boot of programs from The Ballets Russes. The dances shocked the art world when they premiered in Paris more than 100 years ago. The company invited collaborators from painters to fashion designers to take part in their performances. Festival Ballet Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric says the result was something new and exciting.

“Coco Chanel was designing costumes for Ballets Russes and then all the ladies in Paris at the time wanted to have the same dresses which ballerinas are wearing, so there was a line,” said Djuric.

Djuric said this version will feature some updated choreography. He added audiences will see a whole new artistic creation come to life.

“That is what is exciting about live performance because, you know, curtain comes up and everything is created in front of your eyes so you don’t know how it’s going to go,” said Djuric. “Can be terrific, can be okay. We always hope for terrific but, you know, we are just humans.”

The original Ballets Russes showcased the work of prominent artists of the time like Pablo Picasso. This updated version will feature a 20 foot-high metal sculpture designed in collaboration with The Steel Yard in Providence.

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Ty and Marissa Parmenter in Dominic Walsh's
Ty and Marissa Parmenter in Dominic Walsh's "Afternoon of a Faun," part of Festival Ballet Providence's "Ballets Russes Reinvented"