American Repertory Ballet to Bring FIREBIRD to McCarter Theatre, 3/12
On March 12, 2014, at 7:30pm, American Repertory Ballet will present Firebird at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. This program will feature the world premiere of Douglas Martin's Firebird, set to Stravinsky's score; Martin's Rite of Spring, also set to music by Stravinsky; and the company premiere of Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun, set to Debussy's score. These ballets are inspired by the 20th-century works created for Sergei Diaghilev's revolutionary Ballets Russes: L'Oiseau de feu, Le Sacre du printemps, and L'Après-midi d'un faune. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
"I am committed to keeping great 20th century work alive by both continuing to perform those great works and by creating new versions with my personal takes on those themes, " Douglas Martin explains. "These Diaghilev-era ballets opened the West to Eastern pageantry and lore. They introduced Western audiences to the artist that would go on to define art in the 20th century. Exploring that history and expounding upon it is essential to the identity and personality of my work."
Tony Angarano, dance critic for The Courant who reviewed Hartford Ballet's premiere of Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun, said the work "retains its setting of a Grecian idyll, but the characters, a faun that is half-human/half-beast and a flirtatious nymph, interact with more tender innocence than Nijinsky's originals, which caused a scandal at the 1912 premiere in Paris with their eroticism." He goes on to say, "Peterson's movements seem like the natural expression of Debussy's heated music....a re-interpretation [with] stunning impact."
Martin's Rite of Spring transports the original libretto of Nijinsky's Le Sacre du printemps - a story based on pagan ritual and sacrifice - to a competitive 1960s office environment. In response to its spring 2013 premiere, Robert Johnson described the work as "part sentimental tribute and part screwball comedy" that "avoids primitivist clichés and, in gender parity...manages to find a concept still radical enough to make audiences squirm." As Hochman says of Martin's Rite, "Mr. Martin's choreography fills the stage." He goes on to explain that the steps in the group sections appeared to him "an indescribable potpourri that work together because they fit both Mr. Martin's concept and the Stravinsky score...a tribute to Mr. Martin's choreographic ability."