& Critics

Les Soirées de la Danse

The Sarah-Bernhardt theatre, at present time the Théâtre de la Ville, Paris

On his book “Le Ballet Contemporain”, Paris, 1950, Pierre Michaut wrote: “Roland Petit (Villemomble near Paris, 1924), a brilliant student at the Opera, where he had made all his studies, had just resigned on late summer, 1944; Paris had been liberated, war was about to end, hope and future were marching together.”
“At that time, Mme. Irène Lidova, a journalist and choregraphic critic much envolved with the world of Dance, wanted to organise, together with the impresario Claude Giraud a series of recitals or little galas, to reveal those young dancers raised at the dance cours during the war. Having met M.A.-M.Julien, an actor and singer (ex-“Gilles and Julien”), also a journalist, this one offered her for one day-a-week the disposition of the Sarah-Bernhardt’s Theatre, whose direction he had recently taken on: due to the admission’s little price, the collection was considered in advance as absorbed by the expenses of the hall and publicity; and no remuneration for the artists was foressen."
“That was the beginning of the Soirées de la Danse. Roland Petit and Janine Charrat were summoned in the first place.”

Program from “Les Soirées de la Danse”, 1944

On Irène Lidova’s own words, " In 1944, during a young dancers’ spectacle, on which some of his comrades already in full glory appeared, like Ana Nevada or Janine Charrat, Skouratoff, who at the time being had only “Volodia” as his artistic name, danced a Narcisse on a Petit’s choregraphy. This Narcisse so torpid and shy allowed Skouratoff the entrance in the young ballet’ world, already on its full effervescence."

"Narcisse" (1911) costume by Léon Baskt
for Diaghilew's Ballets Russes

“This debut led him to Serge Lifar, who was beginning the rehearsals of “Chota Roustaveli” and who awakened the young boy’s strong temperament – a nervous, dynamic, danseur-de-caractère’s temperament.”

(Irène Lidova, “17 Visages de la Danse française”, Paris, 1953)