Montreal artist Marie Chouinard set her first choreography based on Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ back in 1993 in Ottawa, Canada. She wasn’t the first artist to rework Stravinsky’s seminal orchestral movement, originally written for the famed Russian troupe Ballet Russes, but she certainly has put her own indelible mark on this work that was once seen as incendiary by audiences when it debut in 1913.
As part of the Rite of Spring Centennial Celebration the University of Washington joined forces with Compagnie Marie Chouinard to once again bring this groundbreaking work to the stage. This weekend, as part of the UW World Series, Chouinard and her company of dancers brought a kinetic energy and singular vision to this ‘ballet in one act’ that was intense and nothing short of riveting.
As part of the work’s restaging Compagnie Marie Chouinard collaborated with the UW Symphony Orchestra with its 70-member ensemble providing the powerful and discordant Stravinsky score.
The dancers of Compagnie Marie Chouinard shared the stage with pianist Brooks Tran during the first part of the evening. With Tran at the grand piano on one side of the stage, Chouinard set her dancers in motion to the 24 Preludes in Chopin’s Opus 28.
With various groupings of dancers twisting, tilting and surging across the stage ’24 Preludes by Chopin’ struck an episodic and much lighter and playful tone than ‘Rite” but the outcome was no less captivating.
In addition to this weekend’s performance the University of Washington has several performances and lectures on tap as part of the Rite of Spring Centennial Celebration. Next up on February 6 at the Meany Hall Dance Studio is a lecture by Martha Carter, Rehearsal Director for Compagnie Marie Chouinard.
Visit www.artsuw.org/riteofspring100th for a full listing of Rite of Spring Centennial Celebration events.