“Rite of Spring” Centennial to Highlight Virginia Arts Festival

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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