Words: Robert Parker-White
Fourty five years after Pina Bausch lead her UK debut at The Edinburgh International Festival with The Rite of Spring her choreography is still unmatched as a collassal work of a genius.
The show opens with its sister piece ‘common ground[s]’ co-choreographed and danced by Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo. It’s starts with a sparse, bare stage with a just few bread rolls, sticks and a couple of chairs. We plunge into darkness before two silhouettes emerge in an orange hue to the sounds of a thumping drum beat. The choreography follows complex pulses and rhythms following the performers long lives together and this is a great accompaniment to Bausch’s seminal work.
We then move to the main event. Set to the music of Igor Stravinsky and featuring over thirty dancers from African countries, representing only the fourth time any group of dancers have performed this groundbreaking work outside of Bausch home company Tanztheater Wuppertal, ‘The Rite of Spring’ is as galvinsisting as ever. We see a figure emerging from the dark brown mud and witness this ‘chosen one’ being sacrificed, changing the season from winter to spring. It grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the bitter end. You are unable to lose focus as your eyes are glued to the spectacle before you. When the performers are in full flow it is vibrant, vivacious and life affirming and completely takes your breath away.
The Rite of Spring / Common Ground[s] is an invigorating evening which is as awe-inspiring now as it was in 1975.
The Rite of Spring / Common Ground[s]