Le Train Bleu (ballet)

Le train bleu is a one-act ballet choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska to music by Darius Milhaud for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, based on a scenario by Jean Cocteau. The title was taken from the night train called Le Train Bleu, which transported wealthy passengers from Calais to the Mediterranean Sea.

Le train bleu
Darius Milhaud in 1923.
ChoreographerBronislava Nijinska
MusicDarius Milhaud
Premiere20 June 1924
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris
Original ballet companyBallets russes

The ballet is set on the fashionable French Riviera and has a sporting theme, with swimmers, tennis players, and weight lifters. Henri Laurens supplied a Cubist beach scene and Coco Chanel[1][2] outfitted the cast in sportswear. The curtain was painted after Deux femmes courant sur la plage, a 1922 work by Pablo Picasso.

The ballet was first performed on 20 June 1924 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, with Nijinska, who played a tennis player based on Suzanne Lenglen, Lydia Sokolova, Anton Dolin and Leon Woizikowski in the leading roles. The orchestra was conducted by André Messager.


  1. Histoires de la mode, 2008, p. 153.
  2. Harris, Dale (September 1989). "Legends: Chanel and Diaghilev". Architectural Digest: 42, 46, and 50.

Richard Buckle's biography of Diaghilev made a mistake in citing the setting as Deauville. Deauville was a fashionable resort in Normandy, and it was not on the line of the Blue Train.


  1. Sjeng Scheijen, "Diaghilev: A Life," Oxford UP, 2009
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