How can one decade affect the course of history? More than a century later, the arts—music, theatre, visual, dance, design—borne in Paris between 1910 and 1920 inspire a new art movement across the Atlantic. From April 7 to May 1, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), introduced to Traveling IQ readers last week, draws on the collaboration, creativity and innovation of this artistically essential decade.
Nowhere are these principles more evident than in the tornado of talent known as the Ballets Russes. By 1910, less than one year into its infancy, the Ballets Russes in Paris was preparing to launch some of the greatest artists of the past century. In the eye of the storm, stood the company’s director, Serge Diaghilev, often called “the greatest theater producer who ever lived,” for his ability to recruit the most exciting artists of the time. Imagine a company that can commission the music of Stravinsky, Ravel and Strauss, to be choreographed by Nijinsky, Balanchine and Massine, with sets and costumes designed by Picasso, Matisse and Chanel.
Inspired by the wave of collaboration and creativity rolling through Paris throughout this decade, PIFA welcomes a modern generation of artists to create a new cultural revolution. “One hundred years ago, Paris was the epicenter of creativity,” says festival executive director J. Edward Cambron. “What happened during that time shaped how we defined the arts throughout the 20th century, and now, Philadelphia’s cultural community is poised to fuel the same spirit of ingenious creativity.”
Stay tuned as Traveling IQ explores the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, with PIFA’s support.