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Saturday March 25th

Compagnie Marie Chouinard performance innovative and bizarre

	<p>Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts. Members of Compagnie Marie Chouinard perform. The company will perform as part of “The Rite of Spring at 100” on Sunday.</p>
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Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts. Members of Compagnie Marie Chouinard perform. The company will perform as part of “The Rite of Spring at 100” on Sunday.

A man jumps, momentarily flying. He lands menacingly in a spotlight.

The combination of Igor Stravinsky’s music and Marie Chouinard’s choreography produced an arresting, esoteric and otherworldly performance by Compagnie Marie Chouinard in Memorial Hall Sunday night.


Show: “Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s “The Rite of Spring” and “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”

Performance: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Stars: 4 out of 5

In a seamless collaboration of jarring yet controlled movement and sound, the dance company performed Chouinard’s 1993 interpretation of “The Rite of Spring” and her 1994 interpretation of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

After viewing this show, it is easier to empathize with the original rioters in reaction to the 1913 premiere of “The Rite of Spring.” The music is not classically melodic. The score is loud, distraught and surprising.

“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” a solo piece, showcases one female dancer’s prowess. She takes on the role of a male faun chasing after a nymph, culminating in copulation — peculiar for a solo piece, but tasteful nonetheless.

Chouinard’s “The Rite of Spring” opens with scratching sounds, like an odd combination of beat-boxing and writing on a chalkboard. The musical phrases beckon, yet caution, the audience. This is not bedtime music. This is music to run from.

Chouinard’s interpretation calls for the concentration and unification of soloists.

A good portion of the performance is made up of a succession of solo performances under numerous spotlights.

The 10 dancers use a system of movements that allows for personal creativity and simultaneous group cohesion.

Dancers engage in limber, almost warrior-like interactions. They unfurl and peck at each other like birds. Many portrayals are animalistic and erotic.

The ascension of the music causes the dancers to erupt in spirited, frantic movements, highlighted by dramatic lighting.

Male and female dancers alike are bare-chested throughout the piece.

While initially disconcerting, the lack of clothing appropriately accents the visible fluidity and tension of their human bodies.

At one point a dancer dons prehistoric-looking props — bands of long, curved horns around her arms and legs.

Stravinsky’s staccato ignites an oscillating movement in the dancers that seems disjointed.

But every movement is deliberate and powerful, at times aggressive. Some gestures would be perceived as humorous, if not for the terrifying music.

The dancers take exaggerated breaths, pulling their shoulders back.

But the onslaught of strange bodily angles and enigmatic growls at times detracts from the show’s meaning.

The 55-minute performance in conjunction with the vigorous music and movement is exhausting by the conclusion.

For someone with no higher arts training, the narrative of the performance might be lost in translation.

Innovative and bizarre, this is not a calming and restorative performance, but rather curious and energizing.

Chouinard accomplishes another avant-garde, inspired work that transgresses the norm yet leaves the audience applauding.

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