BALLETS SUÉDOIS
The Swedish Ballet first appeared in 1920. It was founded by a wealthy patron named Rolf de Maré and Jean Borlin, dancer and choreographer. As Sweden offered too limited a field for their activities and was, moreover, poor in talent, they decided to emigrate to Paris. At first they attracted little notice, but they had the good fortune to win the help of Hébertot, who welcomed them to his theatre. Their first proper performance was given on October 25th, 1920, at the Comédie des Champs-Élysées. On the programme were Debussy Jeux (décor by Bonnard), Albeniz's Iberia (décor by Steinlen), and La Nuit de la Saint-Jean, drawn from Swedish folklore. Although somewhat disconcerted by this new ballet form, which was primarily a mimed transcription of a pictorial motif, the public gave the troupe a warm reception. The dancers were, on the whole, rather mediocre, and Jean Borlin's choreography was unimaginative. He had the good fortune, however, to find some first-rate collaborators among the musicians, painters and poets of the day, the Groupe des Six, Cocteau, Cendrars, Pirandello, Jean Hugo, Chirico, Irene Lagut especially, and the painter Fernand Léger. Rolf de Maré and Jean Borlin created some fifty ballets, of which the most outstanding were l'Homme et Son Désir by Claudel, Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel by Cocteau, Skating Rink, Relâche by Picabia, and particularly La Création du Monde by the poet Blaise Cendrars, music by Darius Milhaud, with a magnificent curtain and superb costumes by Léger.
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