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The Rite Of Spring Essay

1113 words - 4 pages

When one thinks of a ballet they hear soft rhythmic notes and see elegantly dancing ballerinas softly tip-toeing around the stage. This is also what people in early 1900’s expected to see when they planned to attend a ballet. However, a couple of motivated artists in 1913 literally planned to change the design of ballet, music and dance forever. On May 29, 1913 a ballet named The Rite of Spring premiered in Paris, France. The original title as it translates from Russian to French is; Le Sacre du Printemps, meaning the rite of spring, but the literal translation from Russian to English means “Sacred Spring”. The ballet and music were composed by Igor Stravinsky, with the help of Nicholas Roerich, who proposed the general idea behind the ballet to Stravinsky. Roerich wanted to put into motion the ideas behind pagan pre-Christian rituals in Russia. Together the two created the story line behind the ballet; a sacred pagan ritual where a young female dances herself to death and is then offered to the “Gods” of spring to make them happy. The music was composed by Vaslav Nijinsky and the ballet was produced by Sergei Diaghilev for the Russian Ballet. This ballet was so different from what the spectators expected to see that it caused a riot. The Rite of Spring turned the tables of ballet in every sense: the dance, the music and the general idea of ballet was modernized by the group of artists who created and produced it.
Vaslov Nijinsky was the choreographer for this ballet. He was considered the greatest male dancer of the 20th century and his works were known for their controversy. In this ballet Nijinsky’s choreography far exceeded the limits of traditional ballet. And for the first time the audience was experiencing the futuristic direction of modern dance. Nijinsky used aggressive staccato movements, having the dancers’ feet turned inwards. Unlike traditional ballet The Rite of Spring featured sharply bent arms and legs that focused on barbarian depictions of life rather than the elegant, graceful representations used in conventional ballet. The violent dance steps depicted fertility rites, which is what provoked the earliest interruptions during the ballet. While Nijinsky was creating the dance for the ballet, Roerich was creating the setting and costumes to accurately portray this sacrificial rite. The use of such primitive pagan images were something that the people were not accustomed to. It was a topic that the world was not yet ready to deal with. But the visuals of the ballet were not the only historic part; the music had an even greater impact.
The music was composed by Igor Stravinsky, who considered himself an inventor of music. He was also known for many controversial works reminiscent of Nijinsky. He created many works that blasted the whole realm of music into other possibilities, in which it would never return from. He started his career writing music for other ballets like Firebird and Petrouchka, which...

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