The first Russian Seasons originated in 1909 in Paris as a project of Sergey Diagylev to bring together many of the new immigrant Russian artists in the area. He began a tradition of festivals which featured artists of all different genres including dance, song, music, and visual art. Russian Seasons in Paris were unique in their cohesive approach to individual performances. There had never before been an idea to bring together such varied artistic concentrations into one, high quality event. These one-of-a-kind festivals were a great success in their time and were a runway on which many previously unknown artists launched their soon-after successful careers.
Russian Seasons in Minnesota continues the same traditions. The festivals assemble artists of diverse backgrounds and genres into a collective whole where each individual performance enhances the brilliance of the next. The audience is presented with a world created onstage where different cultures and genres coexist and converge. This reflects our contemporary globalized world and the opportunities for unique collaboration.
At last year's festival, a dance piece, designed to emphasize the immigrant theme "Ship of Desires" between individual performances, featured this kind of collaboration. Established dancers like Cassandra Shore (Middle-Eastern dance), Brenda Buckley of Scoil na dTri Irish Dance Company, and ballet dancers from St. Paul City Ballet had to strike a balance and find a common rhythm with plain dance lovers who had little or no prior stage experience. The dance piece was a great success; not only did the dancers work out an incorporation of the new ideas into their own styles, but the audience was able to understand the progression of the festival and relate the previous and following pieces to the common theme of the whole night.