Music: Erik Satie
Choreography: Léonide Massine
Plot: Jean Cocteau
Sets and costumes: Pablo Picasso

Première: May 18, 1917 by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet).
Dancers at the première: Léonide Massine (the Chinese Conjuror), Lydia Lopokova,
Leon Woizikovsky, Nicolas Zvereff (the acrobats), Maria Chabelska (the American  girl).

Parade became a part of 20th century cultural history because it was one of the greatest
succès de scandale, a work of genius that was ahead of its time and therefore derided by many.

Béjart Ballet du XXè Siècle: 1964, Brussels

U.S. (and Joffrey Ballet) Première: March 22, 1973, City Center, New York, New York
                                            Revival: December 28, 2012

Europa Danse: 2007

Paris Opera Ballet

Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, July 27, 2017
Teatro Grande degli Scavi di Pompei

Music by Erik Satie
Choreography Léonide Massine
Revived by Lorca Massine
Set Designs Pablo Picasso
Reconstructed by Maurizio Varamo
Costume Designs Pablo Picasso
Reconstructed by Anna Biagiotti

Principal Dancers, Soloists, and Corps de Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Jean Cocteau, from the original Parade program, May 18,1917,
Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France:

"The scene represents a Sunday Fair in Paris. There is a traveling Theatre,  There are the
Chinese Conjuror, an American girl, and a pair of Acrobats. Three Managers are occupied in
advertising the show. They tell each other that the crowd in front is confusing the outside
performance with the show which is about to take place within, and they try, in their crudest
fashion, to induce the public to come and see the entertainment within, but the crowd remained
unconvinced. After the last performance, the Managers make another effort, but the Theatre
remains empty. The Chinese Conjuror, the Acrobats, and the American girl, seeing that the
Managers have failed, make a last appeal on their own account. But it is too late."

Remembering Parade
by Sheri Chandler

Robert Joffrey had an affinity for preserving the works of ballet masters. One of the masters he
truly appreciated was Léonide Massine. Massine was a Russian born dancer who trained
withthe Imperial Theater School and performed both with the Bolshoi and as an actor with the
Maly Theater. He was chosen by Sergei Diaghilev to become part of the Ballet Russes in 1913
as a possible replacement for Nijinsky and by 1917 had become a principal dancer and
choreographer with the company.

Robert Joffrey first encountered Massine in 1940 during his very first experience on a
professional stage in Michel Fokine’s Petrouchka with the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo.
While Joffrey had a non dancing role, Massine played the title character. In Sasha Anawalt’s
book The Joffrey Ballet:
Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company,
Joffrey said, “I remember Massine dancing so brilliantly, and he became my idol. I thought he
was wonderful. And his career-he was a choreographer, then he was a director-all of that sort
of made me want to do things.”

In 1969, Joffrey was ready to seek out Massine, reconnect with him and revive some of his
work. He was especially interested in one of Massine’s most ambitious collaborative pieces,


Created for the Ballet Russes in 1917 from a scenario by Jean Cocteau and music by Erik
Satie, Parade was subtitled “a ballet réaliste” for it showed the grayness and dullness of big
city life and commerce against the color, excitement and playfulness of the circus. It symbolized
modern man’s loss of his inner creativity among more industrialized pursuits.

The elaborate sets and costumes were designed by Pablo Picasso. His costume design
would showcase cubism as a new direction in modern art. Massine choreographed and dance
the leading role of The Chinese Conjurer. For Satie and Picasso, it marked the first time either
had worked with a ballet. It was also the first time that “noise making” instruments were featured
in a classical score, giving the sense of a real city. Milk bottles, typewriters, pistol shots, sirens
and a fog horn were all heard within the piece. Some have called this the first multimedia art
ballet in that the collaboration included a writer, a modern art painter, an avant garde music
composer and a dance choreographer. It was an unique collaboration for its time. Massine’s
choreography also mixed in every day movements and simple acrobatics with classic ballet
technique, something Joffrey and Gerald Arpino would also freely mix in their own

By 1973, Joffrey was ready to revive this 30 minute piece which had only been seen 9 times
since its premiere and never in America. He said at the time, “sometimes in striving to create
only new ballets, we overlook certain ballets that were very important historically in dance. One

Joffrey had received the blessings of both Picasso and Massine, but not without extensive
persuasion. Massine viewed this masterpiece as the work of an inexperienced choreographer
and did not want it revived. Finally, he relented, but only on the condition that the Joffrey Ballet
first include two of his other works into their repertoire.

Joffrey was committed to bringing the piece back to life as authentically as possible. He
assembled a top notch design team for the recreations of the set and costumes. Picasso’s
elaborate set pieces were reconstructed by Kermit Love (creator of Big Bird for Sesame
Street), costumes and decor were researched and duplicated by Willa Kim and Edward

Massine worked with the Joffrey Ballet on the two conditional revivals of his work,
Le Tricorne in
1969 and
Le Beau Danube in 1972–so the dancers were well acquainted with his style and
unique communication skills when it came time to start on Parade. In the film, principal dancer
Gary Chryst describes how Massine gave explanations for the facial expressions Chryst should
use while dancing the role of The Chinese Conjurer: “I have to say, we thought he was out of
his mind because he was asking us to do strange things with our face. Flex your
cheekbones…What? What does that mean? And you swallow an egg and you make your eyes
disappear. He [the Chinese Conjurer] was a magician. So the images were things of being able
to make fire come out of your mouth; grabbing it out of the air and then [miming it] to come out.
Taking an egg and swallowing the egg and then making it come out of the foot. I mean the
imagery was wild.”
Photo: T.M. Sarno