Ballets Russes, Hélène Kirsova’s Wedding (1938)

Ballets Russes, Hélène Kirsova’s Wedding (1938)
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In a series of moving portraits, Ewan Murray-Will films Hélène Kirsova with friends and family at her wedding reception. In the first shot, Kirsova stands with her newly-wed husband, Danish Vice-Consul Erik Fischer, and a flower girl. In the following shots, Kirsova appears with various guests, mostly linked arm in arm, who descend the front steps and walk towards the camera. In a wider shot, more of the front porch of the house can be seen where Kirsova continues to pose for the camera. In the final shot, Kirsova is lifted into the air where she lightly kicks up her ballet feet.

These images strongly convey Kirsova’s impish and playful persona. She is clearly happy and smiles generously throughout this clip. These informal scenes at the reception, captured by her close friend Ewan Murray-Will, provide a glimpse as to why the ballerina was so adored by her fans. At times appearing cheeky, and always full of life, Kirsova is as engaging on her wedding day as she was on the ballet stage dancing for the Ballets Russes.

Throughout these scenes, Kirsova and her guests react to the camera in a way which indicates Murray-Will was giving them instructions of when to move forward, what to do, and when to start over. In one scene, a ‘false start’ is repeated after Kirsova, her husband and two friends carefully walk back to their starting points.

Poppy De Souza