Last night I went to see the Joffrey Ballet perform Rite of Spring at the Elliot Hall of Music. I’ve seen a fair number of musicals and plays, but ballet was a whole different world, and other than Black Swan, this was my first exposure. I really had no idea what to expect going in, but was certainly impressed. I do not have near enough experience to really appreciate the skill of the dancers, but I was intrigued with how well they moved within the music. As I sat there, it seemed almost as if the music was an expression of their actions.
The first two pieces they performed were modern ballet (or so I’ve been told) and featured what seemed to be more traditional dancing (although it is probably blasphemous to compare modern dance to classical). Regardless, the third and feature piece, Rite of Spring, was completely different. Instead of wearing almost nothing, the dancers were in full costumes and the ballet told the story of a tribal girl being chosen and featured various ritual dances around that vein of thought. The dances featured much more percussive movement and ultimately ended in the girl’s death, or so it seemed. I spent the duration of that piece thinking that the girl was being rejected and held prisoner from the tribe and ultimately that lead to her death, but the titles of the songs within the piece tell a very different story.
Between the first and second act they put up a painted divider to allow the dancers to change costumes or whatever they needed to do. It showed what looked like dragons being hunted. I later learned that the dragons were in fact moose, much to my dismay. Overall though, it was a really cool experience and following the night we got interviewed by the exponent. Not really knowing what to say, and in line with my terrible sense of humor, my one word response to the final piece was “Bears” as some of the dancers in that piece were in ceremonial bear costumes. The Exponent declined to use that quotation and instead mentioned the comments I had comparing the styles. Oh well, it’s probably for the best that I didn’t go down as seeing a famous ballet company and walk away with the word bears.