The Ballets Russes never performed in Russia, and in the last twelve years of its twenty-one year existence (1909-1929) many Western European artists and composers worked for the company. Yet its essential identity remained as Russian as that of its founder, the quintessential “cosmopolitan” Sergei Diaghilev. An examination of its repertory makes that clear.
V. M. Gaevsky“‘Stal’noi skok.’ Obraz Rossii v sud’be Diagileva,” in S. Diagilev i russkoe iskusstvo XIX-XX vv. Kul’turnye i stilevye traditsii na rubezhe vekov(Perm’: Permskaia gos. khudozhestvennaia galereia 2002) II: 11. I made a similar point in my article “Birds of a Feather: The Ballets Russes and the Legacy of Symbolism” in Words Music History: A Festschrift for Caryl Emerson Stanford Slavic Studies vol. 29-30 (Stanford 2005) pp. 578-79.