What makes a Russian dancer Russian? In 1909 Sergei Diaghilev essentially created a tradition of "Russian ballet" through his Ballets Russes, which brought the stars of the imperial Petersburg theater to Paris and other Western capitals. By commissioning new and innovative works, such as Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Firebird, Diaghilev revolutionized the standard repertoire of dance ensembles around the world. Ballet dancers such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Mathilde Kschessinska, Dame Alicia Markova, all worked closely with Diaghilev.
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