Ballets suédois

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Ballets suédois production of Skating Rink (1922) by Jean Börlin (1893-1930)

The Ballets suédois was a predominantly Swedish dance ensemble based in Paris that, under the direction of Rolf de Maré (1888–1964), performed throughout Europe and the United States between 1920 and 1925, rightfully earning the reputation as a "synthesis of modern art" (Baer 10).

The Ballets suédois created pieces that negotiated new terms of the post-World War I European imaginary by combining forms of “dance, drama, painting, poetry, and music with acrobatics, circus, film, and pantomime” (Baer 10).

Between 1920 and 1924, the ensemble performed 24 creative pieces, totaling 2,678 performances in 274 cities throughout twelve countries. The collaboration of the choreography of Jean Börlin, the artistic direction of de Maré, and the aesthetic framework of Fernand Léger, provided a rich intercultural cross-section of avant-garde performance in interwar Europe.

Notable productions[edit]


  • Nancy Van Norman Baer, Paris Modern: The Swedish Ballet 1920-1925 (San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1995)
  • Felicia McCarren, Dancing Machines: Choreographies of the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 112–129