Joffrey Ballet



MAR 14, 7:30PM

Concert Hall

$50, $40, $15; FC, GCC, STCC and 17 & under $10

The celebrated Chicago-based dance company has put together a memorable lineup of works for its national tour with Stanton Welch’s new work Son of Chamber Symphony, with music by John Adams and William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated. The evening concludes with Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring). This reenactment of a sacrificial fertility rite provoked audience members to storm the streets of Paris following its 1913 debut. Set to the classic, commissioned score by Stravinsky, Sacre stands as one of the most magnificent musical and dance masterpieces of the 20th century.


No rioting in the Concert Hall please!

On May 29, 1913, in Paris, Les Ballets Russes stages the first ballet performance of The Rite of Spring (Le Sacré du Printemps,) with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario―a setting of scenes from pagan Russia―shock audiences more accustomed to the demure conventions of classical ballet. The complex music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites first draw catcalls and whistles from the crowd, and are soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience escalates into a riot.

The ballet completes its run of six performances amid controversy, but no further disruption. Both Stravinsky and Nijinsky continue to work, but neither creates pieces in this percussive and intense style again. In later years, The Rite of Spring is regarded as a path-breaking 20th-century masterpiece. The work is often heard in concert and the ballet is set by many prominent choreographers. After extensive research, Nijinsky's original setting is reconstructed and presented by the Joffrey Ballet in 1988. This performance, 75 years after the premiere, causes no riots. In fact, it is televised nationally on PBS.

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