The Rite of Spring (Le Sacré du Printemps from Les Ballets Russes with Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and Diaghilev)

For those of you intrigued by the Rite of Spring clip I showed last week, here are some videos and articles related to the ballet and controversy. Keep in mind that what seems mild by our standards would have been incomprehensible in the days before interpretive dance, conceptual art, and postmodern thinking in general.

Imagine going to the ballet in Paris in 1913 and expecting something along the lines of Swan Lake or The Nutcracker but instead hearing and seeing this! The orchestral arrangement and dancing would have seemed jarring and aggressive. The lack of tutus and tights would have seemed indecent and disrespectful to the artform!

Here is the clip shown in class:

An edited and very avant-garde collection of Nijinsky:

And a few articles that explain some of the audience responses:

PBS: Culture Shock

NPR: Milestones of the Millennium

The Verge: “It began with a bassoon and ended in a brawl.”


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