Co-Sponsored by Marin Ballet
Introduction by Peter Coyote
In conversation with Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine
In the 1930s and '40s, the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo toured the United States and the world, introducing many to ballet as an art form, while spreading the enduring image of the ballerina as an embodiment of feminine grace and sophistication. Irina Baronova and the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo ($55.00) is a sumptuous, illustrated history that tells the story of the rise of modern ballet and its popularity through the life story of one of ballet's most glamorous stars, Irina Baronova (1919-2008), prima ballerina for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo and later for Ballet Theatre in New York.
Drawing on letters, correspondence, oral histories, and interviews, Baronova's daughter, the actress Victoria Tennant, warmly recounts Baronova's dramatic life, from her earliest aspirations to her grueling time on tour to her later years in Australia as a pioneer of the art. She begins with the Baronov family's flight from Russia during the Revolution, which led them to Romania and later Paris, where at the age of thirteen, Baronova became a star, chosen by the legendary George Balanchine to join the Ballets Russes, where she danced the lead in Swan Lake. Tennant provides an intimate account of Baronova's life as a dancer and rare behind-the-scenes stories of life on the road with the stars of the company. Spectacular photographs, a mix of archival images and family snapshots, offer many rare views of rehearsals, costumes, set designs, and the dancers themselves both at their most dazzling and in their most everyday.
The story of Irina Baronova is also the story of the rise of ballet in America thanks to the Ballets Russes, who brought the magisterial beauty and star power of dance to big cities and small towns alike. "Irina Baronova and the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo "offers a unique perspective on this history, sure to be treasured by dance patrons and aspiring stars.
For over twenty-five years, Emmy-award winning directors/producers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have jointly created critically-acclaimed multi-character documentary narratives that braid their characters' individual personal stories to form a larger portrait of the human experience. Geller and Goldfine first met Irina Baronova in June 2000 while filming the Ballets Russes Reunion in New Orleans during the production of their documentary Ballets Russes. A feature-length documentary covering more than fifty years in the lives of a group of revolutionary artists combines intimate interviews and verite documentary scenes with surviving members of the Ballets Russes companies, as well as rare motion picture performance footage, clips from Hollywood movies and "home movies," letters, diaries, journals and other archival materials, to trace the story of the companies and the lives of the individuals who danced with them.
In the 1930s and '40s, the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo toured the United States and the world, introducing many to ballet as an art form, while spreading the enduring image of the ballerina as an embodiment of feminine grace and sophistication.