One hundred years after its infamous premiere, Vaslav Nijinsky's Rite of Spring takes the stage as part of the Virginia Arts Festival. The Richmond Ballet will present Rite on the exact day of its centennial—May 29—accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra playing Stravinsky’s notoriously dissonant score. The choreography is angular, the themes pagan and the music unpredictable. Audience members unfamiliar with the piece may relive the shock of 1913 theater-goers. Presumably, however, they won't boo and hiss so loudly the choreographer has to yell counts from the wings to keep overwhelmed dancers on tempo, as Nijinsky is said to have done a century ago.
The festival opened its 17th season yesterday with Irish music in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Other dance highlights of the 11-week arts celebration include performances by the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Keigwin + Company from NYC and Virginia–based Todd Rosenlieb Dance. Visit virginiaartsfest.com for the complete schedule.
Photo courtesy Dan Dutcher Public Relations
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This Sunday, master ballet teacher Finis Jhung turns 80. After a career as a soloist for both San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey and a principal for Harkness Ballet, Jhung carved out a unique place for himself as a ballet teacher in New York City. He's coached the boys of Billy Elliot: The Musical, developed a popular video and DVD how-to series and STILL teaches seven classes a week at the Ailey Extension. He's graced the pages of this magazine to offer his time-honored wisdom again and again, and he's currently working on a memoir. (We can't wait to read it.) Happy birthday, Finis!
Since 1989, tap dancers have been celebrating National Tap Dance Day (NTDD) on and around May 25, the birthday of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This year, prime events are happening in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.
When you think of a major basketball team's dancers or cheerleaders, you probably picture the Laker Girls—scantily clad, with shiny curls cascading down their backs. You definitely don't picture a group of 15 40-years-old-and-up "seniors," mean-mugging and ripping off breakaway pants. But the New York Liberty's Timeless Torches do exactly that, and they routinely bring down the house during halftime at the WNBA games where they perform.
The exhibit Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 is filled with exhibits, performances and conferences honoring the three postmodern dance living legends.