René Blum


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(b Paris, 13 Mar. 1878; d en route to Auschwitz, 28 Sept. 1942 (some sources say 28 Apr. 1942)

French ballet impresario. A former art critic, publisher, and theatre director, he was appointed ballet director of the Monte Carlo Opera after Diaghilev's death in 1929. In 1931 he joined forces with Colonel de Basil to found the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, with Blum contributing the artistic vision and de Basil the business acumen. Balanchine and Massine were hired, Diaghilev's old ballets were restaged, and the company's trio of baby ballerinas fired the public's imagination. In 1934 Blum reduced his role from manager to artistic director and the following year left the company to form his own group. This, the René Blum Ballets de Monte-Carlo (with Fokine as ballet master), eventually became the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (co-directed by Massine), which enjoyed international success. Blum was probably the most important ballet impresario of the 1930s (and certainly one of the main conservators of the Diaghilev repertoire) but as a Jewish intellectual he was arrested by the Nazis in Paris, in 1941. After several months of detention in Compiègne and Drancy, he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, dying during the journey.

Subjects: Dance.

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