MIAF: Rite Of Spring

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Words by Maria Dunne
Performance Dates: 3rd-6th October

This performance of Rite of Spring has the Chinese dance company Yang Liping Contemporary Dance interpret Stravinsky’s music. The choreography paints the work with Asian philosophy and symbols. This can be seen through the dancers morphing into male-female, animal-human and nature-spirit.

To understand its narrative, the performance requires the audience to do further reading and be aware of the asian aesthetics the piece is adding to Stravinsky’s music. For someone who is time poor or comes to the performance without context, it is bound to leave them very confused. However, the show masters spectacle, the visual effects are presented with grandeur and imagination, heightening the dancers, appropriately, to heavenly heights. Shimmers of gold fall from the sky, thunder echos behind the music and deadly lions.

Moments of repetition and silence are common in this piece. It is understandable why they were used nethertheless, when used it made for a painful viewing, establishing tension and unsureity that isn’t comforting. It was interesting seeing an idea of sacrifice for the greater good, particularly being part of a bigger festivals program.

Overall, the performance has elements that will move audiences however, the real motivation and reason many may see the piece again and stay with them is the way the story is told throigh these incredible effects that completely push forward the dancing.