Saturday, September 21, 2013

A chance to see Le Sacre du Printemps cause a riot.

I almost didn't go to opening night of the Joffrey Ballet's "Russian Masters" program, but I'm so glad that I did. It's a special addition to the regular season, so it's only running this weekend. The thing that really made me want to go though, is the inclusion of Stravinsky and Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, or Rite of Spring. This is the show that literally caused a riot in the audience on its opening night in Paris 100 years ago. You probably know Stravinsky's score which is generally attributed to causing the riot because of its percussion heavy avant garde nature, but it sounds like there were a lot of factors that led to the riot, not the least of which is Nijinsky's choreography (contorted movements and turned-in feet) and the piece's subject matter (oh ya know, virgin sacrifice).

I wrote a preview of the program for Chicagoist based on the press release and of course my previous experience seeing the company, but I get a much better perspective actually watching the pieces. Sometimes I'm invited to preview portions before the opening, which is amazing, but most of the time I write a review the day after the opening. This run however, is so short, and I was leaving town the day after it opened, so I didn't have time for a review, but again, I'm glad that I opted to go.

I should also mention that that there's another great piece on the program from modern day choreographer Possokhov called simply, Adagio. It's a pas de deux that he created for husband and wife team Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili and I swear, he just pushes to see what they are capable of. It's stunning, both in beauty and in breathtaking talent. Not just any dancer could take on this piece.

There are still two more chances to see "Russian Masters" today and tomorrow.

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