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1. The author believes that once the music began it caused laughter, however, once the dancing began the audience catcalled so loudly that the performers couldn’t hear the orchestra. Eventually, a fight arose between 2 people in the audience, and then the audience started throwing vegetables and other objects at the stage and orchestra. It’s not certain if police ever arrived at the theatre, but 40 people were forced to leave. Even though all this transpired, the ballet was performed until the end. It’s unclear whether the audience was upset at the choreography or the music composition. 

2. The author says that what actually happened that night was not a riot. They say that since the dancers’ stomping movements were inspired in part by dances in Siberia, etc, the Europeans weren’t used to these “exotic” moves, and the aristocrats laughed because they thought they were supposed to. However, music lovers, critics, etc, were appalled and responded by complaining and insulting the aristocrats. The ballet ignited anger, but the anger was not all directed at the stage. The author uses Tamara Levitz’s “Racism at The Rite,” musicological research, to defend their points. Levitz cites various sources that described the atmosphere as confrontational and impassioned, but not physically violent. There are no mentions of any fights, and much less a riot, in the early stories. Furthermore, another piece of evidence proving there was no riot is that there was another ballet, Carl Maria von Weber’s Le Spectre de la rose, also choreographed by Nijinsky. If the riot was as destructive as portrayed, it would be impossible to perform another ballet after the destruction. 

3. I was confused and scared. Now we have seen scenes of exorcism and the dancing looked just like that. The intense music made me feel uneasy and grossed out. It was creepy. If I was in the audience in 1913, I probably wouldn’t be as scared because there weren’t exorcist scenes to even compare the performance to. I think I would still feel uneasy and really confused.

1 Comment

  1. It’s surprising that many people still don’t know the full truth about the event. It’s even more surprising that it was uncovered relatively recently. I don’t know why the myth started and how it got to the length that it is now, but the performance was eye-opening for me. I was able to see something that I couldn’t have ever expected to be shown in a ballet. Though I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it, I did find this abrasive new style very interesting. It was sort of a “breath of fresh air” because I’m so used to the standardized classy ballet, but this wasn’t a breath of fresh air, it was a gust of wind that I inhaled.

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