Rite Of Spring– Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich

Director / Choreographer: Seeta Patel

Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh

Stravinsky’s ballet is here reimagined by award-winning choreographer Seeta Patel. In a nod to her own heritage, this abridged piece encompasses Bharatanatyam; traditional Indian dance. As the title suggests it explores the advent of Spring; the hope that it carries but at what cost?

The dance is colourful and uplifting, conveying the promise of rebirth. The dancers Ash Mukherjee, Indu Panday, Kamala Devam, Moritz Zavan, Sarah Gasser, Sooraj Subramaniam are beautifully adorned, with the men in particular quite exquisite. Poetic energy abounds as they dance in harmony with nature. Later though, akin to the Pagan rituals on which original was based, the Chosen One (of the dancers) must be sacrificed for the greater good. The tone becomes ethereal and otherworldly as his fate is decided, and the other dancers bow and fall in reverence. Though such a burden was thrust upon him, he has become a martyr, a divine God. In this embodiment, he is omnipotent, all-encompassing, and rather frighteningly as Nature all-consuming. Parallels are drawn readily as his story, like that of the seasons, goes full circle.

At the very beginning, one is treated to the music of Chopin and John Meyer in an extended piano solo, with unassuming commentary explaining the origins of each. This was as delightful as it was unexpected. It is worth mentioning that there is also a post-show Q&A session for those left wanting.

Rite Of Spring caused quite the stir when it premiered in Paris over a century ago though quite how much is open to speculation. The then-radical work was described by one critic as that ‘of a mad man’ which seems unfathomable now. For in this production at least, the dancers all beautiful, accompanied by Stravinsky’s rhythmic and impactful score, together create a stunning and visually enticing Rite of Spring.

Reviewed on 10 May 2019 | Image: Contributed

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