Two titans of their respective art genres have united for a unique and personal reimagining of Igor Stravinsky’s iconic score to “The Rite of Spring.”
Anne Bogart, of the ensemble-based theater group SITI Company, and Bill T. Jones, of Arnie Zane Dance Company, unveil their collaborative venture “A Rite” for its world premiere tonight at Memorial Hall.
ATTEND THE WORLD PREMIERE
Time: 8 p.m. today and Saturday
Location: Memorial Hall
More information: http://bit.ly/SJpiRv
The work is a part of Carolina Performing Arts’ centennial celebration of the groundbreaking ballet.
“With Bill and Anne, you have two of the most distinguished artists — not only in their fields, but in the nation,” said Emil Kang, executive director of the arts at UNC and head of CPA.
“Their work is known for navigating between realism and abstraction, so what we will see in their piece is this traversing between the literal and the figurative.”
A work commissioned three years ago once began as two separate entities, Kang said.
“When they found out the other was involved, they wanted to talk about (working together).”
“They thought it was going to be a real artistic reach for them.”
Jones said the duo’s goal was not to repeat past performances of “The Rite of Spring,” but to add to the conversation and present something new.
“We weren’t trying to return to the vibrato of (Vaslav) Nijinsky,” Jones said.
“We were trying to make one from our own experiences in our own fields.”
Jones said it is Stravinsky’s score that provides the most tangible point of reference moving forward with creating a new work.
“Darron West, the sound designer, has found many jazz and big band versions of ‘The Rite of Spring’ — something I never knew existed — and they have juxtaposed (against) the original version, giving it a kaleidoscopic quality.”
Bogart said creating a new work based off the controversial ballet has the potential to embolden future artists to take risks.
“What all artists share, we are in the business of making and breaking expectations,” she said.
“This piece is one that does this in spades. The first stroke on the canvas or stage sets up the night.”
Severine Neff, a music professor at UNC who is represented on-stage in “A Rite,” said she played a part in aiding Jones and Bogart by providing background information and sharing her experiences with the ballet.
“There are a lot of boats that went down, but it’s the Titanic that we remember,” Neff said.
“So what is it about this performance that makes us remember it?”
Bogart gave credit to Jones for coming up with the title for the work.
“It is a frame and it’s something buried in your mind.”
Bogart said the choice of “A Rite” as the title was fitting.
“The notion of dance and theater coming together is the heart of the work,” Bogart said.
“These two communities coming together — these two companies coming together. I think ‘A Rite’ is really correct.”
Jones said the new work utilizes many techniques and styles in order to present the audience with something they can draw their own conclusions from.
“The piece is, in some way, a fresh explosion in your face and it is done with dance, movement, lighting and, of course, a deconstruction and reconstruction of Nijinsky’s score,” Jones said.
“I’m hoping that everyone creates their own meaning and narrative for this piece.”
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