Monday, May 20, 2013

Keep It Local: Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes at the National Gallery of Art

I've been after mom to let me take ballet lessons, so she knew that I'd be way into the new Ballets Russes exhibit at the National Gallery. We headed down there on a recent girls morning and were seriously blown away. The exhibit is a true multimedia installation of costumes, set designs, paintings, sculptures, print and drawings, photographs, posters, music and choreography visuals. And its ginormous.

Diaghilev founded the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1909 and brought together some of the most creative artists of that time, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Coco Chanel. The costumes were unbelievable and I loved getting to sit and watch some of the pieces being performed on screen. My most favorite was probably the costumes from the undersea fairytale Sadko -- I could have used a seahorse ballet costume at my mermaid birthday party. Just saying.

The lifesized costume art and small snippets of visual choregraphy make this a great exhibit for kids. There is plenty of room for littles to toddle around, but keep in mind that some of the costumes are right out in the open, so if your kiddo is still learning to "look, but not touch," you'll have to keep an eye on them. I should also note that if you have an overly skittish kiddo (i.e., one easily scared of moody music and dark lighting), there are a few parts you might wish to move through on the quick -- there were some sections I told mom were scary for those reasons. No biggie. I perked right up when we came to Coco Chanel's wool knit swimwear costumes for the ballet set in Monte Carlo. Swoon.

Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes will be at the National Gallery until September 2nd. Put it on your list!

No comments: