Front Stage Curtain
Le Train Bleu
A ballet in one act with choreography by Nijinska, libretto by Cocteau,
music by Milhaud, curtain by Picasso, set by Henri Laurens, and
costumes by Chanel.
Premiered 20 June 1924, by the Ballets Russes de Diaghilev at the
Théâtre de Champs-Elysées, Paris.
A ballet with a sporting theme, it features a group of fashionable and
rich friends amusing themselves on the Mediterranean coast.
Cocteau's scenario was influenced by the Olympic Games, silent films,
and jazz music, while Nijinska's choreography had a strong gymnastic
element to it. The Train Bleu itself, an express train between Paris and
the Côte d'Azur, does not appear in the ballet.
Le Train Bleu takes place amidst the French Riviera circa 1920s, an era
where populist visions of a modernist utopia gave rise to the cult of the
body beautiful. Choreographer Bronislava Nijinska satirised this shift
towards shallower lifestyles using Chanel’s sporting ensembles as a