Nelly van Bommel
October 1, 2012
Le Sacre du Printemps
Today The Rite of Spring is regarded as a revolutionary piece of music and choreograph. Its choreographer, Vaslav Nijinsky, was born in 1889. He started his dance career after he joined the Imperial Ballet School in 1900, in which he studied under Enrico Cecchetti and Nicholas Legat. He took many lead roles until his dance career took a turning point, and met Sergei Diaghilev. He danced with famous Anna Pavlova, as a lead in the Ballets Russes in Paris, and also starred in Fokine's pieces "Le Pavillon d'Armide," "Cleopatra," and "The Feast." He then went on to choreograph his own ballets, such as "L’Aprés-Midi d'un Faune" (The Afternoon of a Faun) and "The Rite of Spring" ("Russian Ballet History"). Most of Nijinsky's works were created far before the time they could be appreciated. The Rite of Spring, however, led to modern dance. The music in this dance was composed by Igor Stravinsky, which also played a revolutionary role in modern dance (Anderson).
The Rite of Spring referred as "Pictures of Pagan Russia" was first preformed on May 29, 1913 at the Theater des Champs-Elysees located in Paris. Most, if not all ballets, during this era consisted of mystical and fantasy like moves and story lines. Previous choreographs were composed of beautiful ballerinas which usually represented a mystical creature, such as Swan Lake. A girl played the role of a beautiful swan. The ballerina danced with beautiful grace in what is today known as classical ballet. The arms are beautifully kept up with minimal movement while the legs do most of the work, both lightly jumping and gracefully coming down. Beautiful twirls in which most of the time the dancers look as if they’re never on the ground. In these classical ballets, in which people were accustomed too, never had a story line that did not end happily. The Rite of Spring, however, goes a complete different direction. This dance is about the celebration and welcoming of spring with the sacrifice of a young lady.
From the very beginning of the dance of The Rite of Spring, I had no idea what to expect. The dance is divided into two different acts, the first being "The Adoration of the Earth." As the curtain rises it reveals men and women in separate groups, which makes great use of the stage because it is used up entirely, yet still leaving enough room for the dancers to move freely. Their surroundings and costumes are primitive, and there is an automatic dark eerie mood set. The dances are very light hearted. This is apparent from the very beginning of this piece, an elderly man is frozen as the music plays. He eventually dances toward the different groups of dancers on stage. Besides the loud thuds that the dancers make with their feet, the dancers gracefully move around the stage. A group of girls dressed in red, are in a vertical line across the stage and they dance on their toes slightly moving their head back and forth, as they bring their legs up to their knees. A second group joins them gracefully. As the music becomes more aggressive so do their movements. For example, as the powerful dark drumbeats take over in the music, the dancers moves are a lot faster and more articulated than previously. This is defined in the part where the dancers are actually having contact with each other. They give the impression that the men are fighting. Meanwhile, some women are cautiously watching from the ground swaying side to side and the quickly jump up which shows the panic and stress within them. A wise old man enters the stage all the dancers freeze, which gives of the impression that he is there to create peace, however, the scene becomes more chaotic. An example of this would be when the men throw themselves on the floor, rise, and repeat it. They then dance around him with their hand up in the air with pointed pigeon feet at all times. This act ends as the dancers surround the old...
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