The Rite of Spring, 1970


Another film of the ballet that’s useful as a comparison to the later reconstruction. Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle show how the music might be interpreted if the original ballet is pretty much discarded. The choreography is by Béjart himself, and for me creates a mixed impression. Women are wholly absent from the first half despite the ballet being about the spring rituals between groups of young men and women. In place of Nijinsky’s stamping crowd there’s a great deal of hopping around which runs the risk of looking more comical than pagan. The second half works better when the company creates a shifting arrangement of Busby Berkeley-like groupings. In place of the ceremonial sacrifice at the end we have some erotic mime which was no doubt advanced for 1970 but which packs less of a punch than the strange and terrible finale of the Joffrey performance. Where the original ballet still seems fresh, the 1970 version now appears rather dated. The whole thing is available for viewing at Ubuweb.


Previously on { feuilleton }
The Rite of Spring reconstructed