Balanchine was a defender of Lifar's dancing -- for example in Apollo --
Balanchine fashioned his own choreography around a dancer's strengths and weakeness and so perhaps in Apollo and Prodigal Son Serge Lifar was at his best - and most beautiful. And maybe the rest of his career was an attempt to recapture that moment of great beauty – as with those moments of our the pasts that many of us try to restore.
So the later ballets are static and make the dancers look "pompous" - as Edwin Denby notes - and are perhaps similar in spirit to fascist productions, such as Albert Speer’s, that want to monumentalize something and freeze it in time. That’s maybe where Lifar’s real collaboratist tendency lies.
In 1950 Denby also says that with exception of Suite en Blanc, Lifar’s ballets have an “antimusical and desperate pound” and none would last. He does say earlier that Lifar in Icare has a a kind naturalness "that goes beyond the gestures required," and that his dancing moves him (this is in 1938).
Denby also tries to get a handle on the Paris Opera style, and maybe this is a key to Suite en Blanc and some of the others. An Open Letter About the Paris Opera Ballet:
Their conception of rhythm and of phrasing inclines away from that of music and toward that of speech. The dancer shapes her phrases by giving them point, as one would in speaking. She selects a step in the sequence and points it up, giving it a slight retard and a slight insistence, and she lets the other steps drop around it, casually and a shade hastily ... [There are] virtuoso subtleties and ingenuities in the phrasing of rhetoric, tiny gusts of inspiration that hurry her forward ...
The Paris style doesn’t mean to transport you so far from the appearances, the awkward graces and characteristic reserves of normal sedentary city life. The point ... is to make the dancer look less like a marvelous vision and more like an opinionated Parisian with all her wits about her whom one might meet in a room full of conversation.
And here is an announcement (I don’t know if it’s been posted here before) of another bit of foolishness:
New York Times Oct 15, 1949 Garbo May Appear in Ballet
Greta Garbo, film star, may appear at the Paris Opera House in the title role of Phedre new ballet by Jean Cocteau, Georges Auric and Serge Lifar. Auric, composer of the music, said today, “Miss Garbo, who is at present in America, has accepted in principle. She is at present in possession of the manuscript. * * * We are awaiting her definite decision. If she accepts she will mime the role. She will not dance.”