News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Akron Children's Hospital

Northeast Ohio Medical University


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


Joffrey Ballet brings Rite of Spring to Blossom
The original Vaslav Nijinsky dance excited Paris in 1913 with original costumes.
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
The Rite of Spring is the story of a Slavic tribe that welcomes the spring with a ritual sacrifice. Dancers Stacy Joy Keller, Erica Lynette Edwards, and Jennifer Goodman
Courtesy of Herbert-Migdoll
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

This weekend should be a good one for fans of dance in Northeast Ohio. The month-long Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival concludes with performances by the New York company Vanaver Caravan at Goodyear Metro Park in Akron. Vanaver presents a series of folk dances from around the world.  

At Blossom Music Center, there' another kind of folk dance. It' the Joffrey Ballet' production of the “The Rite of Spring” with the Cleveland Orchestra. When that dance premiered 100 years ago, it set off a near riot that still reverberates today.

Listen: Ashley Wheater discusses "The Rite"

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:34)


Many people know that Igor Stravinsky’s ground-breaking score for “The Rite of Spring” sparked outrage for its odd rhythms and dissonant chords. But the upheaval from the Paris audience in 1913 really came when they saw the choreography of 25-year-old Vaslav Nijinsky and the costumes of Nicholas Roerich.

A near riot
Stravinsky himself described the scene in a 1965 documentary. The audience was already getting upset with the opening score but as the curtain opened they laid eyes on a primitive tribe of dancers with their hair in long braids.

“When the curtain opened on a group of knock-kneed and long braided Lolitas jumping up and down the storm broke.”  

Nijinsky’s choreography for The Rite of Spring was only performed a few more times. It was not filmed or written down. But in the 1970’s, dance historian Millicent Hodson began to reconstruct it. She used notes by members of the original dance troupe the Ballet Russe. And she interviewed the company’s ballet mistress, who was still alive. Ashley Wheater was a young dancer with the Joffrey Ballet when Hodson finished her resurrection of the Nijinsky’s work. "She spent years and years researching it and then in 1986 in the summer we spent months working on it and putting it together and then we premiered it the next year in ’87," Wheater said.

A difficult dance
"It seems, even though it certainly isn’t what we consider to be ballet bit it’s very rhythmically challenging and it’s quite...tribal. So your legs are doing one rhythm and your upper body is counter-acting the other rhythm underneath it. So you’re legs might be going on the accents of one and five but your arms are going on maybe two and three."

It was the first time the dance had been seen in seven decades. Wheater is now the artistic director for Joffrey and is bringing back “The Rite of Spring” or “Le Sacre du Printemp,” as its titled, for its 100th anniversary.

In the 80’s, Robert Joffrey spent a lot of time and money to recreate the costumes and that’s what will be seen this weekend. The Slavic tribe in the story is marking the onset of spring with a ritual sacrifice of one of its young maidens. On Saturday night, Joanna Wozniak dances the role of “The Chosen One,” the girl who dances herself to death.  

“You do physically get very very fatigued. So, it takes a certain stamina to build into that and to be able to execute the shapes of the movement and be able to push yourself through it.”  

Expecting a riot at Blossom?
Wheater doesn’t expect the Blossom audience to riot at the Parisians did in 1913. 

“It makes a huge difference to have the Joffrey with the Cleveland Orchestra in a live performance… [The relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra] is incredibly special to us. We’re excited to be back.  Everyone in the company loves coming to Blossom.”

The Joffrey Ballet performs “The Rite of Spring” and other dances Saturday and Sunday with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Blossom music Center.


Related WKSU Stories

Joffrey Ballet returns to Blossom
Monday, August 30, 2010

The Joffrey Ballet returns to Blossom Music Center for the first time in three decades
Friday, August 21, 2009

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

A small group of tea party and Democrats protest at Kasich campaign stop
Enjoyed your excellent coverage of the statehouse for sometime now, never dreamed I'd be on. The feedback from people has been great. Thank you. Doris Adams

Top staffers are leaving the FitzGerald gubernatorial campaign
I's too bad that the dirt on Fitzgerald dug up by Kasich's operatives and publicized heavily by the Yellow Plain Dealer has caused the weak staffers of the Fitz...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University