Rite of Spring Centennial: Ballets Russes

Lecture by Lynn Garafola (Barnard College)

225th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, March 7, 2013
4:30 p.m.

Since the premiere of "The Rite of Spring" in 1913, scores of choreographic works to the celebrated Stravinsky music have seen the light of day. Like Vaslav Nijinsky's original, the vast majority have disappeared. Yet the work continues to occupy cultural space.

In the introduction to her book "The Archive" and the Reperetoire, performance scholar Diana Taylor muses: "Is performance that which disappears, or that which persists, transmitted through a nonarchival system of transfer that I...call the repertoire?" In other words is the cultural relevance of The Rite of Spring linked to what Taylor calls "the paradoxical omnipresence of the disappeared"? Or does the cycle of loss and renewal built into the very identity of the ballet -- to say nothing of its original scenario -- inspire its continuous reinvention?

In this presentation, dance historian Lynn Garafalo, Historian of Dance, Barnard College, argues that “The Rite of Spring,” because it is a lost ballet, comprises a body of ideas rather than a detailed choreographic script.

“This conceptual freedom allows both for the ballet’s reinvention and for the persistence of ideas associated with the original,” she says. “With no standard choreographic text, the work ventures into realms the score alone cannot take it; it undergoes a process of reinvention that updates and transforms the work, even when the music remains untouched.

This event is open to the public.

Free; no tickets required.

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