Considered one of the key works of modernism, it is a hundred years after the genesis of Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” that Sasha Waltz takes on the Mariinsky Theatre’s offer to engage with this extraordinary piece of musical and dance history. Its title translates to “The Rite of Spring”. The strikingly archaic, tension-charged and angular composition is characterised by a strongly emphasised rhythm, precipitous drops and a layering of constantly repeating musical motives. Its many almost noise-like dissonances and expressionist sonic impression have made the work one of the most famous pieces of music of the modern avant-garde.
Earlier large-format pieces of Sasha Waltz’, “Na Zemlje” (“on Earth”, 1999), “Medea” (2007), “Jagden und Formen (Zustand 2008)”, and “Continu” (2010) have already showcased elements of her research into rites and group dynamics. With her choreography of Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps”, she now dedicates an entire piece to these themes.
For a long time, I have been interested in the archaic myths and rites that conjure up the power and grand order of nature. In today’s highly technologized world, the forces of nature have been reduced to appear almost exclusively in the form of catastrophe. Rituals, on the other hand, display nature’s cyclical structure and address the relationship of humankind to its origins. The belief in and the connection to a higher order are strengthened; the individual sacrifices himself for the sake of the community. The choreography for “Le Sacre du Printemps” by Stravinsky offers me the chance to dedicate an entire piece to this material.Sasha Waltz
In 2013, the new production “Sacre” was shown in St. Petersburg, Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Each performance had been part of a multi-piece evening seeking to relate other works to “Sacre”, such as the reconstructed 1913 original choreography of “Le Sacre du Printemps” by Stravinsky/Nijinsky in St. Petersburg and “Jagden und Formen (Zustand 2008)” by Sasha Waltz & Guests to Wolfgang Rihm’s music in Brussels. The Mariinsky Ballet danced in St. Petersburg and Paris, while the cast of the company Sasha Waltz & Guests presented the performances in Brussels and Berlin for the first time.
In Berlin “Sacre” celebrated its German premiere as a three-part evening together with Sasha Waltz’ choreographies of “Scène d’Amour” with music by Hector Berlioz, and Debussy’s “L’Après-midi d’un faune” musically directed by Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin.