When The Rite of Spring, a ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and composed by Igor Stravinsky, debuted in Paris in 1913 it sparked one of the most famous riots known in classical music history. At the Parisian premiere, shouts of disapproval bellowed through the concert hall in response to Stravinsky’s score — which is rich with tribal rhythms — and Nijinsky’s provocative, sexual and pagan-ritual inspired choreography. As the story of a young woman preparing to sacrifice her life to a god/deity of Spring unfolded before the crowd, tension escalated. Brawls broke out over auditorium seats, fights spilled into the aisles of the theatre and rioting began — all before the production’s intermission.
Now, Asheville residents and visitors have the opportunity to see what the once-scandalous, now-acclaimed ballet is all about at Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance’s upcoming performance of The Rite of Spring and other works, stated for a three-night run at Diana Wortham Theatre starting on Thursday, June 24. The company will be performing a contemporary take on the production, which was re-envisioned by choreographer Salvatore Aiello, a mentor and teacher hugely influential to Heather Maloy, the artistic director of Terpsicorps.
The Rite of Spring and other works is actually a tribute to Aiello’s work, career and life. His version of Nijinsky’s ballet premiered in Asheville in 1993 “and has been performed hundreds of times in theaters across the country” since then, as stated in the company’s press release. Aiello’s creative prowess helped inspire Maloy’s contemporary ballet company altogether, as Terpsicorps “in part [is] a vehicle for Aiello’s work.”
To learn more, the public is invited to “An Evening with Aiello,” an event featuring a panel discussion and screening of two short documentaries on his life. Don’t miss this chance to learn about Aiello’s contributions to contemporary ballet before experiencing his striking rendition of The Rite of Spring as performed by Terpsicorps’ dancers.
“An Evening with Aiello,” will be held on Sunday, June 20, at 7 p.m., at BoBo Gallery, 22 N. Lexington Ave. Free. Info: terpsicorps.org or 257-4530.
The Rite of Spring and other works will be performed Thursday, June 24, through Saturday, June 26, at 8 p.m. at Diana Wortham Theatre, 2 South Pack Square. Tickets are $32.50/$30.50 students and seniors, with partial proceeds benefiting the WNC AIDS Project. Info: terpsicorps.org, dwtheatre.com or 257-4530.
Gala night tickets for Thursday night’s performance are $75 and include a champagne gathering, backstage tour and post-show celebration at Sazerac. Gala activities begin at 7 p.m.