The Rite of Spring took a giant leap into the digital age in the interactive real-time generated stereoscopic dance and music project Rites by Klaus Obermaier and Ars Electronica Futurelab. The audience was invited into the auditorium at Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, donning 3-D glasses to witness a performance like no other. With Stravinsky’s score performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Julia Mach danced her own ballet on a plinth in front of the orchestra. Behind, a vast backdrop displayed the digitally created visuals, which included a real-time digital rendition of Julia Mach as she danced; along with visuals that pulsed, flashed and gyrated to the distinctive rhythms of the music.
The Rite of Spring has always been somewhat seen as a piece of two halves: one Stravinsky’s dynamic score, the other Nijinsky’s innovative ballet. Rites has rendered The Rite of Spring whole once more, where music and choreography, orchestra and dancers are presented to the audience as equal partners of performance, with both similarly on display; both exposed and watched as much as the other. As Julia Mach dances the orchestra plays in full visibility. Neither is absent nor hidden. This partnership is further displayed through the digital visuals, melding the two art-forms and creating a third. The Times said that it was ‘truly dazzling… a world where the real and virtual intermingle.’ Indeed, not only was it a world where the real and virtual met, but it was also a world where the heard, the seen and the imagined were brought together.