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:
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
The 2018 Oscar noms are here. Which is fun and all; we'll never not get excited about a night of glitz and glamor and, when we're lucky, pretty great dancing. But we'd be a heck of a lot more excited if the Academy Awards included a Best Choreography category. And really—why don't they?
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.