In Honor Of Women's History Month, American Repertory Ballet Presents Douglas Martin's RITE OF SPRING In Red Bank, NYC And Princeton

In Honor Of Women's History Month, American Repertory Ballet Presents Douglas Martin's RITE OF SPRING In Red Bank, NYC And PrincetonIn honor of Women's History Month, American Repertory Ballet proudly performs Douglas Martin's "Rite of Spring," as part of its Generations: Influences from the Modern Age program being presented this spring at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ; The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York City; and McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J.

The original "Rite of Spring" ballet, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, was performed in Paris in 1913 by the Ballets Russes. That performance famously caused a riot, as audiences reacted strongly to the ballet's themes of pagan ritual and sacrifice and to the music - Igor Stravinsky's avant garde, driving score.

Martin's "Rite of Spring" maintains the original ballet's libretto, a celebratory ode to spring and a statement on the theme of ritualistic behavior and sacrifice. Martin has recast the piece setting it in a 1960's office setting - think AMC's "Mad Men."

"I decided upon the 1960's because of the great changes that were happening in the world and in particular in the U.S. during the decade. The fight for equality," says Martin. "I chose a Madison Avenue advertising agency because of the dynamics within the office."

In the first movement, Martin establishes a structured male-dominant work environment, with women stuck in subservient roles of Personal Secretaries and Office Girls. In the second movement, the women fight for equality and structure within the workplace with the selection of the Chosen One - an Office Girl suddenly selected to join the Personal Secretaries

ARB dancer Shaye Firer, who portrays The Chosen One, starts out as an Office Girl but when an Ad Man fails, her character is the only one who shows sympathy for him. "That's the first moment I am singled out as being different. Something about that moment, and my empathy for him gets me noticed and promoted to a Personal Secretary. But in the transition, my character is able to take a step back, look at the job the Ad Man does and realize that she can do it," explains Firer. In the second movement the sacrifice of the Chosen One allows the women who come after her to rise in the ranks in the fight for equality and structure within the workplace.

Martin has a personal connection to the piece. He was a cast member of the Joffrey Ballet's historic 1987 reconstruction of Nijinsky's original 1913 version. "Having learned and performed that version dozens of times I feel that the ballet and the music is a part of me," he says.

Jerry Hochman writing in Critical Dance says, "Mr. Martin's choreography fills the stage ... The steps, from the Office Girls typing in tandem with the Stravinsky score, to the preening Personal Secretaries and clownish Ad Men, to the diabolical Boss, are to this viewer 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."

Other works on the Generations: Influences from the Modern Age includes There is a Time, a deeply evocative work by Modern Dance pioneer José Limón. This classic work is based on Ecclesiastes 3 and evokes rich feelings through both the dance and the familiar, time-worn words; and Gerald Arpino's Sea Shadow.

For ticketing and more information, visit


Friday, March 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 24 at 8:00 p.m.

Two River Theater

21 Bridge Avenue

Red Bank, New Jersey

* * *

Friday, April 6 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m.

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College

East 68th Street (between Park & Lexington Avenues)

New York, NY

(212) 772-4448

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Friday, April 20 at 8:00 p.m.

McCarter Theatre Center

91 University Place

Princeton, NJ

(609) 258-2787


American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. To learn more, visit

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