Riedel & Rivka Dance Companies Share the Stage at Ailey, 3/7-3/9

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Both the Riedel Dance Theater and Ariel Rivka Dance companies today announced the upcoming world premieres of their new, narrative works - In Violent Circles (Rite of Spring) and Vashti, respectively. These two emerging contemporary ensembles will share the stage for three consecutive nights March 7 - 9, 2013, at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre (NYC). Both choreographers, Jonathan Riedel and Ariel Grossman, are true storytellers who draw upon the emotional power of drama, movement and music to bring stories to life through dance. Both pieces feature live, on-stage musical performances of original scores/arrangements by two of today's top contemporary composer/performers.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Diagheliv's Rite of Spring, the always compelling Riedel Dance Theater presents In Violent Circles (The Rite of Spring) - a dark and ominous re-imagining of this celebrated work. Inspired by a 13th Century Swedish folk ballad "Töres dotter i Wänge" and two 20th century film adaptations by first Igmar Bergman and then Wes Craven, In Violent Circles (The Rite of Spring) is set for seven dancers in two acts (Act 1 - The Rituals of that Morning; Act 2 - The Rituals of that Night) and live, on-stage piano accompaniment by Neil Alexander.

Choreographer Jonathan Riedel adheres to the traditional themes of the work - loss of innocence, natural order, and tumultuous rebirth - while depicting the story of a family ripped apart by a violent act and the desperate means by which they find peace.

It's a timeless tale told through Riedel's seamless blend of contemporary dance and theatrical storytelling and serves as his most complex and stripped down piece to date. "To make a Rite of Spring that is truly unique, personal to me, and still worthy of Stravinsky's infamous score I decided to find a story to tell with it that captured the themes of the music and original ballet but, that was intricate enough with its plot and characters to captivate a contemporary audience," explains Riedel. "The violence of the subject has not been spared from the work and, I hope, neither has the humanity."

Ariel Rivka Dance premieres Grossman's Vashti - an homage to Vashti, the Queen of Shushan, (wife of King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia, in the Biblical story of Purim) who is known to many as a heroine. Vashti is seen as a brave and strong character who chooses to value her dignity above submitting to her husband's whims and offensive orders. For many and for Grossman (a student of Women's Studies at Skidmore College), Vashti represents the first instance of feminism. With modern choreography that springs from a strong balletic core, this work involves five dancers, an original score by composer David Homan, and live music featuring violin, cello, guitar and piano.




More On: Wes Craven, Neil Alexander, David Homan, Frances Alexander,

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by Barnett Serchuk