Home » Blog 5 » Markakis Blog 5

Markakis Blog 5

In “100 years ago today, ‘The Rite of Spring’ incited a riot in a Paris theater,” Amar Toor writes about the public’s reaction to the debut of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet. The audience laughed and mocked the ballet from the beginning. When the dancers arrived on stage with unusual costumes and abnormal choreography, the crowd reacted so negatively and loud that the choreographer had to shout the commands from backstage so that the ballerinas could continue. There were two types of people in the audience: traditionalists and modernists. Daniel Waymouth explains that traditionalists were “those wanted things to be tame and ‘pretty’,” while modernists were “eager for something new.” A small fight broke out which concluded with angry audience members throwing vegetables and other objects towards the stage. It has been speculated that this event was a publicity stunt or an operation planned by the traditionalists. This performance led to Stravinky’s international stardom and status as the world’s leading contemporary composer.

In “Did Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring incite a riot at its premiere?” the author argues that the riot didn’t even happen. The only witness accounts of the premiere are from the people that were seated on the balcony. Their environment most likely exaggerated the sounds causing it to be overwhelming. It is unknown whether the audience in other seats experienced the same issue (11). The costumes and the choreography was supposed to represent the primitive aspect of their setting. The stomping were inspired from ethnographic accounts of dances in Serbia. The dance moves were intended as humor when they were danced outside of the actual stage where aristocrats would laugh at them. This was racist and considered disrespectful which caused a lot of outrage from people. However, it’s speculated that only those close them heard and saw these insults. The accounts mention nothing of physical violence or any riots happening. There was another ballet performed right after with the same choreographer (18). Instead of being angry at the premiere, it seems that the audience was more confused. The author uses Tamara Levitz’s essay, “Racism at the Rite” as evidence.

When I first heard “Sacrificial Dance” from “The Rite of Spring,” I felt unnerved. The music would suddenly get loud, causing me to slightly flinch. The dance was also unsettling as there were quick and sharp movements while the arms and the rest of the body would be at weird angles occasionally. If I was in the audience in 1913, I would’ve felt the same way. I would probably be pretty scared because the music would be even louder at the performance. However, I would still silently watch it until the end.

1 Comment

  1. I agar with you depict the fact that the second article can easily be quoted to support that there was fight after the show. but in fact, the whole article supported the fact that there was no riot.

Comments are closed.

Library OneSearch

Enter your search term and click Search to find an item in the CUNY catalog.

April 2024

This course includes Open Educational Resources (OER), which are entirely cost-free and accessible online. Developed in the Open Knowledge Fellowship at The Graduate Center's Mina Rees Library, this work is made possible by state grant funding through the Office of Library Services.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.