Ritual and Dance

The original Ballet Russes production of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” choreographed by Nijinsky was subtitled “Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts” and was conceived as a celebration of the mysteries of Spring and the bursts of creativity that accompany its arrival after winter loosens its grip on the the psyche and the landscape. Ancient rituals often incorporated dance so it’s fitting to have a ballet about them. They are still a big part of human behavior and most religions have incorporated many of the so-called pagan ones while denigrating adherents who don’t embrace their new interpretations as pagans and infidels. Even human sacrifice has survived, though now only rivals and enemies are killed in the name of the new rituals. Nijinsky introduced “modern” techniques to classically trained dancers and choreographer Edgar Zendejas follows that tradition in his update of the ballet with choreography that connects more readily with today’s realities and delves into the contemporary divisions between “us” and “them.” State Street Ballet will present one performance only Feb. 18 @ the Granada Theatre. Also on the bill are “Five by Gershwin”by William Soleau  and Kassandra Taylor Newberry’s “(con)version.”