The Rite of Spring Turns 100 Today
The Joffrey's reconstructed"Rite of Spring" (photo by Herbert Migdoll)
100 years ago today, the Ballets Russes premiered Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, in Paris. It caused a riot.
The audience just didn't know what to make of the work, which was dissonant and rough and not at all like the pretty stuff they were used to seeing on the ballet stage. (To give you a sense of what they did expect, one of the most popular ballets at the time was Les Sylphides—all delicate bourrées and long white tutus. In fact, it was on the program with Rite that night.)
Seriously, can you imagine that happening today? Brawls breaking out after a ballet premiere? People slugging each other because they're confused by music and choreography? It must have been a totally wild scene. And it speaks to the revolutionary nature of Rite, which in many ways changed how the world thought about ballet.
Since then, there have been hundreds of versions of Rite performed by dance companies all over the world. But the Nijinsky's choreography was actually lost for more than 70 years. It wasn't until 1987, when the Joffrey Ballet premiered a painstaking reconstruction of the work, that modern audiences were able to see what all the fuss was about.
Happy 100th, Rite! To celebrate, here's a recording (in three parts) of a 1989 performance of the Joffrey's reconstruction. See if it makes as much of an impact on you as it did on that 1913 audience:
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"Late Late Show" host James Corden was one of the many, many people shocked by President Trump's sudden decision to ban transgender people from the military yesterday. And he decided to voice his outrage in the way most likely to rile a President who's uncomfortable with anything "un-manly": through a big, beautiful, extra-sparkly song-and-dance routine.
In addition to training, competing and winning titles in just about every style you can think of, 13-year-old Kaylee Quinn is a regular on the sci-fi drama "Stitchers," playing the younger version of the show's main character. Her path in dance hasn't been without challenges, though. Last summer, Kaylee won the Hope Award at her regional Youth America Grand Prix, but wasn't sure she'd be able to compete at the NYC finals due to a broken foot. Patience paid off: With her doctor's blessing, Kaylee danced her variations in flat shoes and won the gold medal.
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Every ballet dancer knows the time, sweat, and occasional tears the art form demands. But many non-dancers are clueless about just how much work a ballet dancer puts into perfecting his or her dancing. So when the mainstream crowd recognizes our crazy work ethic, we'll accept the round of applause any way it comes—even if it comes via four men in tutus. Yep, we're talking about "The Try Guys Try Ballet" video.