Shen Wei Dance Arts at the Joyce Theater on Sunday, October 1.
Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography for the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring nearly started a riot. The savage, inelegant steps shocked the audience, but how else could Nijinsky have interpreted Stravinsky’s gloriously primitive work? With its driving yet uneven rhythms and crushingly dissonant harmonies, Rite of Spring doesn’t lend itself to dainty arabesques and pirouettes.
Sadly, Nijinsky’s notorious choreography has been lost to history, but contemporary choreographer Shen Wei captures Stravinsky’s brutal work beautifully. For the dancing is beautiful—not graceful, certainly, but energetic and athletic and invigorating.