BWW Reviews: Ballet West Presents World Premiere of THE RITE OF SPRING
Expectations were high as Ballet West presented the world premiere of The Rite of Spring with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Nicolo Fonte. In it's own right, The Rite of Spring is not a new piece. It first debuted in 1913 and was rejected as vulgar by audiences. The piece has been reworked many times in the last 100 years, including a version by Fonte himself in 2006.
What makes this new version unique? The title itself, The Rite of Spring, seems to elicit lightness and new life, with colorful lights and costumes to tell a fun story. In reality, the curtain opens with the dancers in what appears to be black leather, standing erect and straight, waiting, as if something important is about to happen. The set consists of a series of brown flats that moves with each sequence of the ballet. It's a very modern telling a rite of passage of a young boy (Henry Winn) and dramatically concludes with his literal "baptism" on stage. A large bowl is filled with water above the stage and is poured directly upon the young boy and another female dancer, and then they dance and splash in celebration of his new "birth."
The choreography is dramatic and Fonte held back nothing in telling this story exactly the way he wants. There is a purpose for every single movement on stage, and at times it is impossible to look away. There was a "costume malfunction" with one of the male dancers, but nothing big enough to take away from the dancing in itself.
Ballet West and Fonte have outdone themselves with this piece. Stravinksy's score is interesting to listen to and Fonte's work and precise choreography, although shocking at times, makes the piece as a whole one that is absolutely entertaining and amazing to behold.
The Rite of Spring is presented in conjunction with Jiri Kylian's Forgotten Land and George Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15. Performances are at The Capitol Theatre April 12th and 16th-19th.
Photo: Ballet West Principal Artists Christiana Bennett, Arolyn Williams and Katherine Lawrence in Jiri Kylian's Forgotten Land. Photo by Erik Ostling.