Sunday, June 22, 2008

Real Life Intrudes

Hello, is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.

All right, I'm not sure that I'll be able to get my recap up by Monday because my homework is proving to be harder than I anticipated (AARGH LINKED LISTS), and with two finals this week, I might have a hard time finding time to catch up before Wednesday. Point is, the Week 2 recap might go the way of the Caribbean monk seal.

But rather than, you know, work on my lab right now, I'd rather bring up Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." I saw my first ballet not too long ago (yay Firebird!), and then a couple weeks ago, attended the Silicon Valley Orhcestra playing "The Rite of Spring," which has got me brimming with dozens of questions, hopefully which you guys can answer.

Can anyone recommend widely available books (i.e. available at public libraries) on its premiere performance? Has it ever been subject to dramatization?

Among professional ballet dancers, what reputation does "The Rite of Spring" have (i.e. is it performed only by the best dancers, are modern interpretations maddeningly difficult to perform, etc.)? And what reputation does Nijinsky's choreography (what we know of it) carry?

Uh, more possibly later to fulfill my "dozens of questions" claim.

Update: After some digging around, I found a the full video (that's 90 minutes) of a BBC dramatization of the 1913 premiere! Also, if your loins ache from the absence of a week 2 SYTYCD recap, well, um, I can't help you there, but I should be able to post something by tomorrow night.

Indie rating: Rites of Spring - "All There Is"


soobee said...

I dunno. By the time you get to the recap of SYTYCD week two, we'll be onto week three. And I need my Leee fix. Sadness. I love me some Ted's blog (where I post), but still...yours is a special blog. But I'll get over it. Good luck with finals, etal.

Selly said...

I was under the impression that Nijinsky's choreography for Rite of Spring was not performed often (or at all?) now. I may be wrong about that. Ok, just checked some things, I was completely off about that, not sure where I got that idea from.

Rite of Spring was first performed in 1913 by Sergei Diaghilev's company, Ballet Russes. I can't think of any books about the ballet itself, but there are a few books on Amazon that contain the full score such as:

I have never seen the ballet live (the entire thing is on YouTube in three parts, Joffrey Ballet's revival of the original choreography., but looking at teh video, it doesn't look extremely diffucult. Technically speaking, in most parts there isn't much there. Lots of acting things out, folk-ish dances, mime, etc.

If I were you, I would try to talk to one of the bloggers at J-Pointe (, Joffrey ballet's official blog to get more of a "professional ballet company" perspective on it.

I hope that helped maybe a little.


Becca said...

Nijinsky was a dancer with the Ballet Russe before he was a choreographer. Stravinsky's music and Nijinsky's were both so new and controversial that the crowd started rioting and I'm pretty sure it was never performed again. I think that Nijinsky destroyed everything the choreography was recorded on. Many decades later, there were 1-2 dancers from the original who were still alive (they were like 80 years old), and they pieced it together from what they remembered. Really cool story, I think. Sorry for the long post--I was a music major!

Selly said...

^So I did sort of have it right when I said that I thought that it wasn't performed anymore with his choreography. It is, it just wasn't intended to be.