The next production of The Rite of Spring we are going to look at was choreographed by Millicent Hodson in 1987, and danced by the Joffrey Ballet. This production is as close as you or I will ever get to seeing Nijinsky’s original ballet. After years of painstaking research Millicent Hodson, a dance historian and choreographer, managed to piece together Nijinsky’s original choreography from prompt books, sketches and photographs and detailed first hand recollections. One must applaud Hodson for her passion and dedication to such a task.
Watch the video below to get a sense of her drive behind reconstructing The Rite of Spring.
If we take it that Hodson has succeeded in reconstructing Nijinsky’s ballet (indeed the Joffrey Ballet list the choreographer as Nijinsky, not Hodson) we can see just how revolutionary it was. The costumes, the story, the unusual dance moves all combined to present something that was innovative, but indeed shocking to the audience. Even as I watch it today (obviously the Joffrey 1987 performance!) I am taken out of my dance comfort zone. The choreography here is something extraordinary, working somehow simultaneously with and against the music.