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Last night, I attended the Carolina Performing Arts 12/13 Season Announcement event; the season will feature 45 performances and a centennial celebration of The Rite of Spring at UNC’s Memorial Hall.

Choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky set The Rite of Spring on Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes in 1913. Accompanied by the music of Igor Stravinsky, the ballet highlights a sacrificial Pagan ritual that is said to initiate the coming of Spring. When the ballet originally premiered in Paris, the audience rioted in response to its somewhat gruesome content, which was unprecedented at that time.

Here’s a clip from the BBC documentary “Riot at the Rite,” that shows the beginning of the performance and the resulting uproar. You’ll notice in the video that one woman remarks that the dancers’ feet make them look like pigeons. The Rite of Spring‘s choreography featured flexed, turned-in feet rather than the pointed, turned-out feet that are characteristic of most classical ballets.


The Carolina Performing Arts 12/13 season will honor the centennial of The Rite of Spring through movement, music and imagery. The Rite of Spring at 100 performance schedule will include nine world premieres, two U.S. premieres and 11 new works commissioned by the Carolina Performing Arts.

The performance schedule includes works by The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, The Mariinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Bill T. Jones and Anne Bogart, The Joffrey Ballet, Nederlands Dance Theater I, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, and puppeteer Basil Twist, to name a few.

Here’s a clip of the Joffrey Ballet’s reconstruction of The Rite of Spring, which premiered in 1987.  The rest of the work can be viewed on YouTube.

Tickets to the general public go on sale June 19th and can be ordered by phone at 919-843-333, online, or in person at the Memorial Hall Box Office on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.