24 October 2013

FESTIVAL: The Rite of Spring / Petrushka

The Rite of Spring / Petrushka
Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Melbourne Festival
13 October 2013
Comedy Theatre
to 14 October

In 1912, Paris’s theatre elite loved Stravinsky’s ballet score Petrushka. In 1913, the same crowd rioted because his new work offended their sense of harmony and the choreography kneecapped classical ballet traditions.

The Rite of Spring is considered the beginning of modernism and is music that’s still impossible to forget.

As is the new version by the, perfectly named, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre from Ireland. Presented in two parts, the choreography reflects the first Rite but puts it firmly in our urban now.

Rite’s primal earthiness begins on a snowy city street, where homeless huddle with cardboard boxes and stomp to wake the spirits and find warmth. As their aggression builds, they turn into vicious dogs that sacrifice the weak and finally find the sun and floral dresses of spring.

Petrushka is like a memory re-telling of the Rite with hints of its coming violence, but told in a clean-white world that looks for love and hope instead of rape and despair.

With a four-handed piano accompaniment, the stomping and panting on the stage are part of the score, which makes it so human that the audience are left as breathless as the dancers.

This first appeared at issimomag.com.

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