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Those old enough to remember the days when the BBC  showed a great deal of dance material which covered important developments in dance in the twentieth century rather than being  restricted to films about Margot may not realise that John Drummond was responsible for much of the output which made the BBC seem such a dance friendly institution.

 

In the late 1960's John Drummond made a two part documentary about Diaghilev.. Part one Diaghilev; The Years Abroad is available on BBC i-Player. It includes contributions from Karsavina,Sokolovam Rambert,Nabokov and Beaumont .I have no idea whether it is there in perpetuity or whether it is only available for a limited time.but it is well worth watching.

 

Unfortunately part two The Yeras in Exile is not available.

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I think the book  containing the text of the interviews was published by Faber and Faber and is called Speaking of Diaghilev. It is very well worth reading but there is something rather special about watching de Valois admitting that she was scared of anyone, Rambert doing her party piece, the first night of Sacre, and Lydia Sokolova whose original name was Hilda Munnings  spill the beans about how Nijinsky's performance in Spectre was enhanced. According to her the height of the window through which he leapt near the end of the ballet set much lower than usual, only about three inches off the floor and there was a man on the other side of it who held him up so that he seemed to hover in the air. Her memoirs, which Richard Buckle helped her write is called Dancing for Diaghilev and it is fascinating.

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