After the death of the founder of Ballet Russes (Russian Ballet), Sergei Diaghilev, in 1929, the original company — which during its short history included esteemed dancers such as Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova and collaborators like Pablo Picasso and Igor Stravinsky — dispersed to establish other ballet companies across the world.

The antipodean expeditions, from 1936 to 1940, organized by Diaghilev’s successor, the grandly named impresario Colonel Wassily de Basil, had a huge impact and lasting effect on Australian life and cultural identity. In 2006, The Australian Ballet, the National Library of Australia and the University of Adelaide embarked on a four-year collaborative project titled “Ballet Russes in Australia: Our Cultural Revolution” to honor the profound impression these episodes had on the Australian artistic landscape.

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