The ballet “The Rite of Spring” is an amazing work that has completely turned upside down our perception of dance and music.
Igor Stravinsky wrote the ballet scorealmost directly at the piano. And just a year later, the composer’s grateful audience would carry him in their arms on the streets…
The history of the origin of the ballet “The Rite of Spring”
According to a legend, Igor Stravinsky had an idea of creating the ballet after he saw a dream. In his dream he saw a pagan ritual of Spring awakening: a young girl dancing to exhaustion surrounded by elders and dying from dancing.
The history of the ballet goes back to 1909. It was at this time Igor Stravinsky told of his idea to the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, who was also interested in the subject of beliefs and practices of ancient Russia. Together they put together a work plan and a joint work began: Igor Stravinsky wrote the music, and Nicholas Roerich drew the sketches for costumes and sets.
The music and the plot of the ballet “The Rite of Spring”
Igor Stravinsky paid a lot of attention to the rhythm of the ballet. That rhythm eventually defined the innovative work that broke all the established traditions of ballet music and choreography.
The subject of Old Russian motives was not at all incidental, because in the beginning of the 20th century many artists sought to bridge the gap between modernity and Russian history. This trend got reflected in the ballet “The Rite of Spring”, where the Russian composer showed primitive rites of ancient Russia.
The plot, as such, does not exist in the ballet. The ballet “The Rite of Spring” is presented in a form of a narrative that tells us about the awakening of nature, conception and rebirth. According to the composer, “The Rite of Spring” is pure music, which from beginning to end owns the whole work. Also, Igor Stravinsky noted the independence of the storyline and the music.
Staging the ballet “The Rite of Spring”
The first premiere of the ballet “The Rite of Spring” was held in Paris during Dyagilev’s “Russian Seasons”. But the production turned into a huge scandal: the audience was noisy, laughing and whistling, expressing its disapproval. In order to subdue the passions, they had to turn off the light, but it was still impossible to calm the raging crowd. The performance was interrupted. The audience did not understand the ballet choreography and music which were too complex for that time. But connoisseurs of music still managed to capture the essence of this innovative work of art.
The ballet “The Rite of Spring” is a great work of art created by three prominent people: the composer Igor Stravinsky, artist Nicholas Roerich and choreographer Vatslav Nijinsky. It still evokes completely opposite assessments – from enthusiastic praises to complete denial.