The Rite of Spring

The 29th May 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Nijinsky's Rite of Spring performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris.

According to Grigoriev, "actual fighting broke out among some of the spectators".

English National Ballet in MacMillan's Rite of Spring. Photo: Dance Europe

RITE OF SPRING TIMELINE

1913
Le Sacre du printemps - to give the Rite of Spring its original French title - was premiered at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris on 29 May 1913. Choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky to Stravinsky's score, the decor for the ballet's two sections was by Nicholas Roerich and the libretto, inspired by a pagan sacrificial rite, was attributed to Stravinsky and Roerich. The ballet was performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the sole principal role - that of the Chosen Maiden - was danced by Maria Piltz.

In his book, The Diaghilev Ballet 1909 - 1929*, company régisseur Serge Grigoriev noted that although Stravinsky's music was not suitable for dancing, "this troubled neither Diaghilev nor Nijinsky, whose aim was to present only a succession of rhythmically moving groups". At the ballet's premiere, the revolutionary score divided the audience, with one section "shouting its indignation" and another retaliating "with loud appeals for order," before "actual fighting broke out among some of the spectators," according to Grigoriev.

1920
The Rite of Spring was revived by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and performed again at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées on 15 December with new choreography by Massine. The role of the Chosen Maiden was performed by Lydia Sokolova.

1957
The Rite of Spring ch: Mary Wigman premiered on 24 September by the Ballet of the City, Berlin Opera, Berlin.
To be reconstructed, funded by the Tanzfond Erbe initiative from the Federal Culture Foundation, and premiered by Bayerisches Staatsballett on 14 June 2014.
As there is no documentation of the original ballet available on film, the reconstruction, led by choreographer Henrietta Horn, will be based on sketches and diary entries of Mary Wigman, as well as photos and recollections from contemporary witnesses Katharine Sehnert, Emma Lewis Thomas and Birgitta Herrmann.

1959
The Rite of Spring ch: Maurice Béjart, Brussels.

1962
The Rite of Spring ch: Kenneth MacMillan with designs by Sidney Nolan. Premiered by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden with Monica Mason as The Chosen One on 3 May. More recently performed by English National Ballet with new designs by Kinder Aggugni in 2012.
Monica Mason on MacMillan's Rite of Spring
English National Ballet in MacMillan's Rite of Spring


Erina Takahashi as The Chosen Maiden in MacMillan's Rite of Spring. Photo: Dance Europe
Rite of Spring Gallery

1972
The Rite of Spring ch: John Neumeier, Frankfurt.

1974
The Rite of Spring ch: Glen Tetley, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich.

1975
The Rite of Spring ch: Pina Bausch, Tanztheater Wuppertal.

1980
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Paul Taylor to four-handed piano version of the score, New York.

1981
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Richard Alston to four-handed piano version of the score, London.

1982
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Stephen Petronio to four-handed piano version of the score, New York.

1984
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Martha Graham, Martha Graham Dance Company, New York.

1987
Reconstruction of Nijinsky's Rite of Spring by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer for The Joffrey Ballet and subsequently performed by Paris Opera Ballet 1991, Finnish National Ballet 1994, Companhia Nacional de Bailado, Portugal 1994, Zurich Ballet 1995, Teatro Municipal Ballet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1996, Rome Opera Ballet 2001, Mariinsky Ballet, St. Petersburg 2003, Birmingham Royal Ballet 2005, Hyogo Performing Arts Centre Ballet, Kobe 2005, Hamburg Ballett 2009, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo 2009. Joffrey Ballet in Rite of Spring

1988
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Stanton Welch and Stephen Page, The Australian Ballet with Bangarra.

1988
Solo choreographed by Molissa Fenley to Stravinsky's score.

1991
Tamara Nijinsky founded the Vaslav and Romola Nijinsky Foundation.

1992
Mmm choreographed by Michael Clark to Stravinsky's score and rock music, including the Sex Pistols.
Video

1994
The Palace does not Forgive, solo choreography by Javier de Frutos to Stravinsky's score.

2003
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Uwe Scholz, Leipzig Ballet.
Video

2007
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Raimund Hoghe.

2009
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan for Fabulous Beast/English National Opera, London. Reworked for Fabulous Beast in 2013. Video

2011
Le Sacre du printemps, choreographed by Nils Christe and performed by Introdans, won the Dutch award, Zwaan, for the best dance production of 2011.

2011
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Christopher Hampson for Atlanta Ballet. Programmed by Scottish Ballet in September 2013.
Video

2012
The Rite of Spring choreographed by Adam Hougland for Tulsa Ballet

2013 CENTENARY YEAR PERFORMANCES

The Rite of Spring choreographed by Yuri Possokhov premiered by San Francisco Ballet on 26 February 2013.
Video
Interview with Yuri Possokhov in Dance Europe February 2013

The Rite of Spring choreographed by Stanton Welch and featuring art by Australian painter Rosella Namok. Premiered by Houston Ballet on 7 March 2013.
Video

The Polish National performed three versions of The Rite of Spring in one programme - versions by Nijinsky (Hodson), Gat and Béjart in Warsaw in April 2013.

Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in Mark Baldwin's Rite of Spring. Photo: Dance Europe

The Rite of Spring choreographed by Rambert artistic director Mark Baldwin for the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and premiered on 16 May 2013.

iTMOi (in the mind of igor) choreographed by Akram Khan and inspired by Stravinsky's score but employing a new music by Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost. Premiere on 28 May 2013, Sadler's Wells Theatre.
Video


Akram Khan Company in iTMOi. Photo: Dance Europe. Gallery

The Mariinsky Ballet in Nijinsky's The Rite of Spring and The Mariinsky Ballet/Sasha Waltz & Guests in Sasha Waltz's Sacre on 29, 30, 31 May 2013 at Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris.
Valery Gergiev on Sacre du printemps
Following this performance, Tamara Nijinsky will be honoured by the French Government with the order of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Open letter from Tamara Nijinsky

The Oracle - solo set to Stravinsky and choreographed by Meryl Tankard and performed by Paul White, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 31 May 2013.
Video


Paul White in Meryl Tankard's The Oracle. Photo: Dance Europe

RIOT Offspring choreographed by Sébastian Ramirez, Mafalda Deville, Pascal Merighi, Ivan Blackstock and Simeon Qsyea for a cast of 100, National Youth Dance Company & RIOT Offspring, 8 June 2013, Sadler's Theatre.

Dutch National Ballet in Shen Wei's Sacre du printemps. Photo: Dance Europe
Sacre du printemps choreographed by Shen Wei and premiered by Dutch National Ballet on 15 June 2013 in Amsterdam.
Video
Gallery

Revival of Adam Hougland's Rite of Spring by Tulsa Ballet on 27 September 2013
Video

Zenaida Yanowsky in MacMillan's Rite of Spring. Photo: Emma Kauldhar by kind permission of the ROH
Revival of MacMillan's Rite of Spring by The Royal Ballet 9 November 2013 with Zenaida Yanowsky as the Chosen One.

*The Diaghilev Ballet 1909-1929 by S. L. Grigoriev, published by Constable 1953.