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René Blum and the Ballets RussesIn Search of a Lost Life$
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Judith Chazin-Bennahum

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195399332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399332.001.0001

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The New World Calls! Blum Sells the Company to Americans

The New World Calls! Blum Sells the Company to Americans

(p.174) Chapter 9 The New World Calls! Blum Sells the Company to Americans
René Blum and the Ballets Russes

Judith Chazin-Bennahum

Oxford University Press

This chapter recalls the fascinating correspondence between René Blum, Serge Denham, “Junkie” Fleischmann, and Leonide Massine narrating the acquisition of Blum’s Ballets de Monte-Carlo by World Art, Inc. Letters between Blum and his superiors in Monte Carlo are also cited. When the company was purchased in 1938, and Massine assumed creative control of if, financial constraints forced him to fire many of Blum’s dancers, although he retained Danilova, Toumanova, Slavenska, Krassovska, Youskevitch, Lifar, and a number of others. With interviews quoted from newspaper clippings on his European tours, the chapter gives insight into Blum’s deep commitment to the company and to the arts. With all his might Blum attempted to persevere in his responsibilities as director of the company, but he did so with much difficulty, and Blum’s relationships with Massine, Kochno, and Denham were fraught with painful moments. In his letter of protest to the American Dance Magazine, the chapter relates Blum’s fury over Massine’s claim that the company began with Massine. A letter from Serge Lifar is cited that accuses Blum’s son Claude-René of “informing” on his father to the Nazi authorities. The chapter ends with the brilliantly successful company fleeing to the United States, while Blum tragically remained behind in Paris to be near his son and brother Léon.

Keywords:   Blum, Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Denham, Massine, Kochno, Dance Magazine, Serge Lifar, Blum’s son, Nazis

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