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The Rite of Spring & Petrushka

Music by Stravinsky

Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre

The Lowry, 22 April 2014

The Rite of Spring.  Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

The Rite of Spring. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

There’s no denying the power of Michael Keegan-Dolan’s inventive version of The Rite of Spring.

The celebrated ballet becomes in the main a hunt, the maidens hares and the tribal males some kind of pack animal: foxes, dogs, wolves.  Chthonic beasts hungry for blood, engaged in a primal rite of sacrifice.

And the sexual violence, which was always present – it’s there in Nijiinsky’s original choreography (at least as reconstructed by Millicent Hodson) and in Pina Bausch’s brilliant and influential production and implicit above all in Stravinsky’s astounding score – is made, if anything, more stark.  The dance is finely wrought, yet fraught with terrible emotion.  At times you feel as though you want to look away or somehow stop the spectacle that’s happening on stage: it is altogether too intense, anxious, cruel.  Like watching someone you love being bullied or gang-raped.  Yet you keep on watching: rapt, spellbound.

Later other, gentler colours emerge.

The Rite of Spring was followed after the interval by Petrushka.  By contrast, this was rather a tame affair, very much much of a muchness.  OK but nothing special.

The Rite of Spring & Petrushka are touring throughout the UK, further details can be found here.