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Study of a pair of ballet dancers
, 2007

by Jenny Sages

charcoal and pastel on paper (sheet: 30.5 cm x 41 cm)

Irina Baronova trained with the great Olga Preobrajenska in the Salle Wacker in Paris in the 1930s. Discovered by the renowned choreographer George Balanchine, she was soon to work with other legends including Léonide Massine and Michel Fokine. When she came to Australia in the late 1930s she created a sensation in roles such as the Queen of Shemakhan in 'Le Coq d'or', as Aurora in 'Aurora's wedding' and as 'Passion' in Massine's 'Les presages'. More than fifty years later, when she had moved to Australia and become a patron of the Australian Ballet School, she shared her unique experiences with young people in Melbourne. From that moment, they were directly connected to some of the all-time leading figures in dance. Jenny Sages was excited by the atmosphere around her friend in her professional sphere, and made many drawings for the sheer joy of being on the scene.

Caption: Sarah Engledow, National Portrait Gallery

Gift of J Sages Family Trust
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2009.27