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The Rite of Spring

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo 2009

Choreographer(s) : Nijinsky, Vaslav (Russian Federation)

Present in collection(s): Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

en fr

The Rite of Spring

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo 2009

Choreographer(s) : Nijinsky, Vaslav (Russian Federation)

Present in collection(s): Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

en fr

Sacre du printemps (Le)

Nijinsky, Vaslav

Nijinsky was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent. Nijinsky was one of the most gifted male dancers in history.  His ability to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was legendary.  Nijinsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine, son of Polish dancers Tomasz Niżyński and Eleonora Bereda. In 1900, he joined the Imperial Ballet School, where he studied under Enrico Cecchetti, and Nicholas Legat.  At only 18 years old he was given a string of leads. In 1910, a fellow Imperial Ballet dancer, Mathilde Kschessinskaya, selected Nijinsky to dance in a revival of Marius Petipa's Le Talisman, during which Nijinsky created a sensation in the role of the Wind God Vayou.


Nijinsky met Sergei Diaghilev, a celebrated and highly innovative producer of ballet and opera as well as art exhibitions, who concentrated on promoting Russian visual and musical art particularly in Paris.  In 1909, Diaghilev took his dance company, the Ballets Russes, to Paris, with Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova as the leads. The show was a huge success.   Nijinsky's talent showed in Fokine's pieces such as Le Pavillon d'Armide, Cleopatra and The Feast.  His partnership with Tamara Karsavina, also of the Mariinsky Theatre, was legendary, and they have been called the "most exemplary artists of the time".


Then, Nijinsky went back to the Mariinsky Theatre, but was dismissed for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht in Giselle wearing tights without the modesty trunks, obligatory for male dancers in the company. The Dowager Empress, Maria Feodorovna, complained that his appearance was obscene, and he was dismissed. It is probable that Diaghilev arranged the scandal, in order that Nijinsky could be free to appear with his company in the west, where many of his projects now centered around him. He danced lead roles in Fokine's new productions Le Spectre de la Rose, and Igor Stravinsky's Petrouchka, in which his impersonation of a dancing but lifeless puppet was widely admired.


Nijinsky took the creative reins and choreographed ballets. His ballets were L'après-midi d'un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun, based on Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune) (1912), Jeux (1913), Till Eulenspiegel (1916) and Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring, with music by Igor Stravinsky) (1913). Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance. The radically angular movements expressed the heart of Stravinsky's radically modern scores. Nijinsky's new trends in dance caused a riotous reaction at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées when they premiered in Paris.


In 1913, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes toured South America. Diaghilev did not make this fateful journey, because he was told by a fortune teller in his younger days, that he would die on the ocean if he ever sailed. Without his mentor's supervision, Nijinsky entered into a relationship with Romola Pulszky, a Hungarian countess. An ardent fan of Nijinsky, she booked passage on board a ship that Nijinsky was due to travel on, and during the voyage Romola succeeded in engaging his affections.  They were married in Buenos Aires when the company returned to Europe. Diaghilev is reported to have flown into a rage, culminating in Nijinsky's dismissal. Nijinsky tried in vain to create his own troupe, but a crucial London engagement failed due to administrative problems.


During World War I, Nijinsky was interned in Hungary. Diaghilev succeeded in getting Nijinsky out for the American tour in 1916. During this time, Nijinsky choreographed and danced the leading role in Till Eulenspiegel. However, it was around this time in his life that signs of his dementia praecox were becoming apparent to members of the company.


Nijinsky had a nervous breakdown in 1919, and his career effectively ended. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and taken to Switzerland by his wife, where psychiatrist treated him unsuccessfully, Eugene Bleuler. He spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and asylums. Nijinsky died in a London clinic on April 8, 1950 and was buried in London until 1953 when his body was moved to Cimetière de Montmartre.  The tombstone of Vaslav Nijinsky is in Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. The statue, donated by Serge Lifar, shows Nijinsky as the puppet Petrouchka.


While immortalized in numerous still photographs, no film exists of Nijinsky dancing. Diaghilev never allowed the Ballets Russes to be filmed. He felt that the quality of film at the time could never capture the artistry of his dancers and that the reputation of the company would suffer if people saw it only in short jerky films.


Source : Russian ballet’s historical website


More information : 

http://www.russianballethistory.com

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo bis

1909 marks the beginning of a strong presence of choreographic art in Monaco.Serge de Diaghilev presents his Russian Ballet in Paris for the first time. They set up in Monte-Carlo which becomes their creative workshop for the next two decades. Since the Principality, Diaghilev has reformed ballet in his time in all its forms. Upon his death in 1929, the company was dissolved. Several personalities and choreographers revived it under various names but it disappeared completely in 1951.


In 1985, the Monte-Carlo Ballet Company was born thanks to the want of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, who wanted to enrol in this dance tradition in Monaco. The new company was directed by Ghislaine Thesmar and Pierre Lacotte, then by Jean-Yves Esquerre.
 

In 1993, H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover nominates Jean-Christophe Maillot as the head of the Monte-Carlo Ballets. Backed by experience as a dancer from Rosella Hightower and John Neumeier, and choreographer-director of the National Choreographic Centre of Tours, Jean-Christophe Maillot takes his turn in the company. He creates more than 30 ballets for her, including several which enter the repertoire of large international companies. The Monte-Carlo Ballets are now in demand throughout the world thanks to the iconic works of Jean-Christophe Maillot such as Vers un pays sage (1995), Roméo et Juliette (1996), Cendrillon (1999) La Belle (2001), Le Songe (2005), Altro Canto (2006), Faust (2007) and LAC (2011).


Furthermore, Jean-Christophe Maillot also enriches the company's repertoire by inviting the major choreographers of our time but also enabling emerging choreographers to work with this exceptional tool, which are the 50 dancers of the Monte-Carlo Ballets. Among these guest choreographers are Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Shen Wei, Alonzo King, Emio Greco, Chris Haring, Marco Goecke, Lucinda Childs, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Karole Armitage, Maurice Béjart and even Marie Chouinard.

In 2000, Jean-Christophe creates the Monaco Dance Forum, international window to dance that presents an eclectic fusion of spectacles, exhibitions, workshops and conferences. The company regularly participates in this festival and the Académie Princesse Grace.


In 2011, under the chairmanship of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, a new structure directed by Jean-Christophe Maillot reunites these three institutions: The Monte-Carlo Ballets currently concentrates on the excellence of an international company, the assets of a diverse festival and the potential for a school of a high level. Creation, training and production are currently reunited in Monaco to serve choreography in an unprecedented manner in the world of dance.


Source : ballets de Monte Carlo


More information : 

http://www.balletsdemontecarlo.com/

Le Sacre du Printemps

Choreography : Millicent Hodson d'après Valslav Nijinsky

Interpretation : Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Original music : Igor Stravinsky

Live music : Avec la participation de l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, sous la Direction Nicolas Brochot

Lights : Dominique Drillot

Costumes : Kenneth Archer d'après Nicholas Roerich

Settings : Kenneth Archer d'après Nicholas Roerich

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