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‘Rite of Spring’ series to feature 12 new works

All the world’s a stage, and Carolina Performing Arts is one of the major players this year.

CPA’s “The Rite of Spring at 100” commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” which culminated with the audience rioting in the theater because of its caustic themes.

The 2012-13 CPA season will have 16 new works — 12 of which relate to “The Rite of Spring,” including nine world premieres and three U.S. premieres.

Emil Kang, executive director for the arts at UNC, said the scale of the season is unprecedented for CPA.

“At UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina — the home of things like y’all and barbecue — we will have these globally important artistic moments that are going to be heard around the world,” Kang said.

Performers include Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, the Martha Graham Dance Company and choreographer Bill T. Jones in collaboration with theater director Anne Bogart.

“You’re only going to see ballet three or four times during the year,” Kang said. “Most of the artists are creating works that are inspired by, and reimaginings of, the Rite.”

Kang said the series is the world’s biggest centennial celebration of “The Rite of Spring.”

But he said some students may not recognize many groups performing.
Rebecca Brenner, marketing and communications coordinator at CPA, said the unfamiliar names have not lessened the excitement surrounding the season.

“We try to bring artists who are the top of their field,” she said. “They may not be household names here, but they are world-renowned.”
UNC students and faculty will have the chance to interact with the series through multiple outlets, said Reed Colver, CPA’s director of campus and community engagement.

CPA has partnered on campus with groups like PlayMakers Repertory Company and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities to offer related courses, an academic conference and special events, such as a spoken-word hip-hop performance.

“We are entering into a whole new level of how we engage with our community and faculty,” Colver said.

Kang said the Rite series is helping to achieve CPA’s mission to use the arts as a nurturing and educating force.

“If you can see your classroom learning in three dimensions on stage, your learning can be more interesting,” he said.

“It’s not about an old piece of music or an old ballet,” he said. “It’s about how we adapt to new things, how things that are unfamiliar become familiar and how innovations in society can become mainstream and part of what we do.”

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