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Revisiting the Rite: The Rite of Spring Centenary Conference

Oxford University

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Revisiting the Rite: The Rite of Spring Centenary Conference
Revisiting the Rite: The Rite of Spring Centenary Conference

Revisiting the Rite: The Rite of Spring Centenary Conference

Oxford University

2
Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

The premiere at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris on 29 May 1913 of The Rite of Spring Scenes from Pagan Russia was a quintessential ‘total work of art’. An interdisciplinary, international one-day conference was organized by Dr Claire O’Mahony (University of Oxford) in May 2013 which examined the cross-fertilizations between ballet and design in the creation of the original production as well its critical reception and global legacies up to the 2013 centenary productions. Fifteen scholars from universities around the globe investigated both the continuity and ruptures with the traditions of choreographic, visual, musical and literary cultures it provoked. Most of them agreed to have podcasts recorded which form this series.

Latest Episodes

Mapping Nijinsky’s Cross - Cultural Legacy: Min Tanaka’ s Le Sacré du Printemps (1987)

Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps is arguably the most influential score composed for dance in the last century. Premiered to an unsuspecting Parisian audience in 1913, this Modernist ballet was subtitled ‘Scenes of Pagan Russia,’ a moniker that evoked the rituals of pre-Christian society. Vaslav Nijinsky’s groundbreaking choreography shocked audiences with its visceral embodiment of primeval spirituality, and Sacre has subsequently been re-staged by a wide variety of classical and contemporary choreographers across the world, including Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, and Maurice Béjart. This paper focuses on a distinctly non-Western version of Stravinsky’s score, namely Min Tanaka’s Butoh choreography of 1987. Tanaka’s work, with stage settings by Richard Serra, was premiered a year after the death of his mentor Tatsumi Hijikata, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Butoh form. In this paper, I draw comparisons between Tanaka’s stark movement vocabulary an...

39 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Mapping Nijinsky’s Cross - Cultural Legacy: Min Tanaka’ s Le Sacré du Printemps (1987)

The Chosen One: Massine’s Choreographic Rite of Passage

Seven years after the succès de scandale of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky-Roerich ballet Le Sacre du printemps, Serge Diaghilev decided to revive the ballet with new choreography by his young protégé, Léonide Massine. The collaboration with Stravinsky and the process of rechoreographing Sacre gave Massine new directions for defining his choreographic voice through developing his own movement vocabulary. In working with Stravinsky, Massine also developed his ideas of using counterpoint between the movement and music. Chosen by Diaghilev to replace Vaslav Nijinsky as leading dancer and choreographer, Massine did not have the bravura classical ballet technique of his predecessor, but he had a ‘spark’ on stage that captured Diaghilev’s attention. Mentored by Diaghilev in the collaborative process, Massine achieved a notable success with his early ballets, particularly Parade (1917), which had a scandalous premiere; La Boutique Fantasque (1919), which charmed audiences; and Le Tricorne ...

25 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
The Chosen One: Massine’s Choreographic Rite of Passage

The Spanish Reception of The Rite of Spring : Ballet, Music, Fine Arts (1913-33)

This study analyses the reception of The Rite of Spring in the Spanish cultural networks. Although the ballet was only performed in 1913, three years before the first visit of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to Spain, its influence became notorious among some Spanish choreographers, composers, painters and intellectuals. In 1916, during the first of the several tours with the company, Stravinsky played a piano transcription of the score in Madrid. Nevertheless, it was not until 1928 that the complete version was presented at the Liceu in Barcelona. And, the following year, the dance critic and composer Adolfo Salazar claimed for the performance of the entire ballet at the Spanish scene, considering it the most important work of the Ballets Russes. However, in 1930 Unión Radio boosted the diffusion of The Rite of Spring, offering the music through the radio and publishing several articles in its magazine Ondas. The idea was followed by a record made by the Columbia Graphophone Company l...

52 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
The Spanish Reception of The Rite of Spring : Ballet, Music, Fine Arts (1913-33)

D H Lawrence’s Rite

In a notable scene from Women in Love (1920), D. H. Lawrence draws attention to the popularity of Diaghilev’s enterprise as representative of the avant garde in the arts in contemporary Britain. He describes how, following Hermione’s dinner party, guests perform a dance in the style of the sophisticated Ballets Russes. Elsewhere, Lawrence’s sympathies lay rather with the individualism of free dance that would have been closer to the innovative work of Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan or the natural rhythms of Jaques-Dalcroze’s Eurhythmics. Indeed, Lawrence more often explores dance’s function as individual expression of the body’s liberation from Edwardian inhibition rather than the spectacle of dance as entertainment or performance. On another occasion his fictional evocation of dance draws on an imaginative reconstruction of primitive ritual that uncannily suggests the performance strategies of Diaghilev’s production of the Rite. Lawrence’s short story, ‘The Woman Who Rode Aw...

20 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
D H Lawrence’s Rite

A Bardic Rite? Designing the Savoy Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

For a few nights in March 1914 if contemplating buying a theatre ticket in London, there was a brief chance when one could have seen Nijinsky dance at the Palace Theatre one night and the next the new Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Savoy Theatre. Had one had the rare chance to view the 1913 London performance of the Sacre and then the Savoy Dream eight months later, one might well have been struck by the mutuality of Harley Granville Barker’s and Sergei Diaghilev’s strategies as much as their distinctness. The ethos and practices of these two productions striving to achieve a ‘total work of art’ resonate and contrast with each other in the principles of collaboration in the two companies: the deployment of intensified simplification in performance to achieve the ‘gesamtkunstwerk’; the use of colour and supra-temporal effects to create stage decoration rather than pictorialism; the destabilization of gender and the imagining of the primitive was at the heart o...

22 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
A Bardic Rite? Designing the Savoy Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Divining the 1920s: Precious Body Image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 Ballets

This paper examines the ways in which dancers’ body image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 ballets The Rite of Spring and Jeux looked forward to 1920s developments in ballet and fashion. Using the psychoanalyst Paul Schilder’s definition of body image as the appearance and experience of embodiment, the paper will explore how aspects of the 1913 ballets’ new corporeal modes (including an emphasis on the body’s weight and gravity in The Rite and sportive androgyny in Jeux) prefigured how women dressed, moved and perceived themselves both within the Ballets Russes and in 1920s Paris. The paper will explore body image in relation to both individual and collective experiences. Beginning with 1913, the paper will consider how the first dancers in The Rite and Jeux experienced their roles in order to contextualise the ballets within their year of creation, and assess Nijinsky’s contribution to their radical conceits of feminine embodiment. It will then examine how the feminine bodily modes ...

20 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Divining the 1920s: Precious Body Image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 Ballets

Disruption in Continuity: The Use of Ornament in The Rite of Spring

Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography for the Rite of Spring was structured by movement patterns based on simple geometrical forms – such as circles, triangles, lines and angles – which his dancers incorporated with their bodies and limbs. Repeated over and over again, the patterns were gradually transformed or harshly interrupted by other choreographic figures, thus reflecting the repetitive character of Igor Stravinsky’s music as well as the use of ornament and colour in Nicholas Roerich’s costume design. The non-mimetic character of these ornamental patterns is also strongly related to Nijinsky’s own abstract paintings as well as to the rise of abstract art in Paris of 1913, namely the work of Sonia Delaunay-Terk and František Kupka. Applying to The Rite of Spring new theories of ornament focusing more on generative and perceptive aspects rather than on the decorative functions of ornament, I will ask: what is the relationship between the narrative – the sacrifice of an individu...

21 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Disruption in Continuity: The Use of Ornament in The Rite of Spring

A Century of Rites : The Making of an Avant - Garde Tradition

A historiography of a century of productions of the Rite of Spring.

67 MIN2014 DEC 5
Comments
A Century of Rites : The Making of an Avant - Garde Tradition

Prehistoric Ballets: L’Après Midi d’un Faune as precursor of The Rite of Spring

On the 29th of May 1912, exactly a year earlier than the premiere of The Rite of Spring, Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes had scandalized Parisian audiences with the first performance of another famous ballet choreographed by Nijinsky – L’Après-midi d’un Faune. This ballet represents a precursor for The Rite of Spring not only for this chronological correspondence, success, notoriety, and choreography by Nijinsky: both works also drew some inspiration from a rather distant prehistoric past, as shown by the sets and costumes created by Léon Bakst and Nicholas Roerich (for Faune and Rite, respectively). This paper discusses Bakst’s use of prehistoric materials for the Faune and previous Ballets Russes productions, and how this related to his ideas about a modern art of the future. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

25 MIN2014 DEC 5
Comments
Prehistoric Ballets: L’Après Midi d’un Faune as precursor of The Rite of Spring
the END

Latest Episodes

Mapping Nijinsky’s Cross - Cultural Legacy: Min Tanaka’ s Le Sacré du Printemps (1987)

Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps is arguably the most influential score composed for dance in the last century. Premiered to an unsuspecting Parisian audience in 1913, this Modernist ballet was subtitled ‘Scenes of Pagan Russia,’ a moniker that evoked the rituals of pre-Christian society. Vaslav Nijinsky’s groundbreaking choreography shocked audiences with its visceral embodiment of primeval spirituality, and Sacre has subsequently been re-staged by a wide variety of classical and contemporary choreographers across the world, including Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, and Maurice Béjart. This paper focuses on a distinctly non-Western version of Stravinsky’s score, namely Min Tanaka’s Butoh choreography of 1987. Tanaka’s work, with stage settings by Richard Serra, was premiered a year after the death of his mentor Tatsumi Hijikata, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Butoh form. In this paper, I draw comparisons between Tanaka’s stark movement vocabulary an...

39 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Mapping Nijinsky’s Cross - Cultural Legacy: Min Tanaka’ s Le Sacré du Printemps (1987)

The Chosen One: Massine’s Choreographic Rite of Passage

Seven years after the succès de scandale of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky-Roerich ballet Le Sacre du printemps, Serge Diaghilev decided to revive the ballet with new choreography by his young protégé, Léonide Massine. The collaboration with Stravinsky and the process of rechoreographing Sacre gave Massine new directions for defining his choreographic voice through developing his own movement vocabulary. In working with Stravinsky, Massine also developed his ideas of using counterpoint between the movement and music. Chosen by Diaghilev to replace Vaslav Nijinsky as leading dancer and choreographer, Massine did not have the bravura classical ballet technique of his predecessor, but he had a ‘spark’ on stage that captured Diaghilev’s attention. Mentored by Diaghilev in the collaborative process, Massine achieved a notable success with his early ballets, particularly Parade (1917), which had a scandalous premiere; La Boutique Fantasque (1919), which charmed audiences; and Le Tricorne ...

25 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
The Chosen One: Massine’s Choreographic Rite of Passage

The Spanish Reception of The Rite of Spring : Ballet, Music, Fine Arts (1913-33)

This study analyses the reception of The Rite of Spring in the Spanish cultural networks. Although the ballet was only performed in 1913, three years before the first visit of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to Spain, its influence became notorious among some Spanish choreographers, composers, painters and intellectuals. In 1916, during the first of the several tours with the company, Stravinsky played a piano transcription of the score in Madrid. Nevertheless, it was not until 1928 that the complete version was presented at the Liceu in Barcelona. And, the following year, the dance critic and composer Adolfo Salazar claimed for the performance of the entire ballet at the Spanish scene, considering it the most important work of the Ballets Russes. However, in 1930 Unión Radio boosted the diffusion of The Rite of Spring, offering the music through the radio and publishing several articles in its magazine Ondas. The idea was followed by a record made by the Columbia Graphophone Company l...

52 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
The Spanish Reception of The Rite of Spring : Ballet, Music, Fine Arts (1913-33)

D H Lawrence’s Rite

In a notable scene from Women in Love (1920), D. H. Lawrence draws attention to the popularity of Diaghilev’s enterprise as representative of the avant garde in the arts in contemporary Britain. He describes how, following Hermione’s dinner party, guests perform a dance in the style of the sophisticated Ballets Russes. Elsewhere, Lawrence’s sympathies lay rather with the individualism of free dance that would have been closer to the innovative work of Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan or the natural rhythms of Jaques-Dalcroze’s Eurhythmics. Indeed, Lawrence more often explores dance’s function as individual expression of the body’s liberation from Edwardian inhibition rather than the spectacle of dance as entertainment or performance. On another occasion his fictional evocation of dance draws on an imaginative reconstruction of primitive ritual that uncannily suggests the performance strategies of Diaghilev’s production of the Rite. Lawrence’s short story, ‘The Woman Who Rode Aw...

20 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
D H Lawrence’s Rite

A Bardic Rite? Designing the Savoy Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

For a few nights in March 1914 if contemplating buying a theatre ticket in London, there was a brief chance when one could have seen Nijinsky dance at the Palace Theatre one night and the next the new Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Savoy Theatre. Had one had the rare chance to view the 1913 London performance of the Sacre and then the Savoy Dream eight months later, one might well have been struck by the mutuality of Harley Granville Barker’s and Sergei Diaghilev’s strategies as much as their distinctness. The ethos and practices of these two productions striving to achieve a ‘total work of art’ resonate and contrast with each other in the principles of collaboration in the two companies: the deployment of intensified simplification in performance to achieve the ‘gesamtkunstwerk’; the use of colour and supra-temporal effects to create stage decoration rather than pictorialism; the destabilization of gender and the imagining of the primitive was at the heart o...

22 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
A Bardic Rite? Designing the Savoy Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Divining the 1920s: Precious Body Image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 Ballets

This paper examines the ways in which dancers’ body image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 ballets The Rite of Spring and Jeux looked forward to 1920s developments in ballet and fashion. Using the psychoanalyst Paul Schilder’s definition of body image as the appearance and experience of embodiment, the paper will explore how aspects of the 1913 ballets’ new corporeal modes (including an emphasis on the body’s weight and gravity in The Rite and sportive androgyny in Jeux) prefigured how women dressed, moved and perceived themselves both within the Ballets Russes and in 1920s Paris. The paper will explore body image in relation to both individual and collective experiences. Beginning with 1913, the paper will consider how the first dancers in The Rite and Jeux experienced their roles in order to contextualise the ballets within their year of creation, and assess Nijinsky’s contribution to their radical conceits of feminine embodiment. It will then examine how the feminine bodily modes ...

20 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Divining the 1920s: Precious Body Image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 Ballets

Disruption in Continuity: The Use of Ornament in The Rite of Spring

Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography for the Rite of Spring was structured by movement patterns based on simple geometrical forms – such as circles, triangles, lines and angles – which his dancers incorporated with their bodies and limbs. Repeated over and over again, the patterns were gradually transformed or harshly interrupted by other choreographic figures, thus reflecting the repetitive character of Igor Stravinsky’s music as well as the use of ornament and colour in Nicholas Roerich’s costume design. The non-mimetic character of these ornamental patterns is also strongly related to Nijinsky’s own abstract paintings as well as to the rise of abstract art in Paris of 1913, namely the work of Sonia Delaunay-Terk and František Kupka. Applying to The Rite of Spring new theories of ornament focusing more on generative and perceptive aspects rather than on the decorative functions of ornament, I will ask: what is the relationship between the narrative – the sacrifice of an individu...

21 MIN2014 DEC 6
Comments
Disruption in Continuity: The Use of Ornament in The Rite of Spring

A Century of Rites : The Making of an Avant - Garde Tradition

A historiography of a century of productions of the Rite of Spring.

67 MIN2014 DEC 5
Comments
A Century of Rites : The Making of an Avant - Garde Tradition

Prehistoric Ballets: L’Après Midi d’un Faune as precursor of The Rite of Spring

On the 29th of May 1912, exactly a year earlier than the premiere of The Rite of Spring, Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes had scandalized Parisian audiences with the first performance of another famous ballet choreographed by Nijinsky – L’Après-midi d’un Faune. This ballet represents a precursor for The Rite of Spring not only for this chronological correspondence, success, notoriety, and choreography by Nijinsky: both works also drew some inspiration from a rather distant prehistoric past, as shown by the sets and costumes created by Léon Bakst and Nicholas Roerich (for Faune and Rite, respectively). This paper discusses Bakst’s use of prehistoric materials for the Faune and previous Ballets Russes productions, and how this related to his ideas about a modern art of the future. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

25 MIN2014 DEC 5
Comments
Prehistoric Ballets: L’Après Midi d’un Faune as precursor of The Rite of Spring
the END