Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Schools : Enjoy the Centenary of The Rite of Spring

When Art Dances with Music
exhibition National Gallery of Arts

"My music is better understood by children and animals."

Igor Stravinsky

Tomorrow, May 29 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of the Rite of Spring - Le   Sacré du Printemps - by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky featuring a revolutionary musical score by the Russian composer lgor Stravinsky and equally innovative choreography by the young dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and performed by Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

In 2009 Google celebrated Stravinsky' anniversary with a Doodle representing The Rite of Spring and Fire Bird.

The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky.

is one of the most revolutionary, provocative and influential music piece of the last 100 years.  The Rite of Spring uprooted comfortable tastes and embraced 20th Century Modernism.

Serge Diaghilev & Igor Stravinsky

"When first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience."

The music is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century and continues to inspire all the dance companies of the world.

"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead." 

Igor Stravinsky
Mild protests against the music," wrote Stravinsky, "could be heard from the beginning." The composer was remembering the night of 29 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

There is still no more influential piece of music in the 20th century. The Rite of Spring is the work that invariably tops polls of the biggest and baddest of the last 100 years. 

Royston Maldoom & 6th graders (Public School 161, Manhattan)
 Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring"
credits: Chris Lee 

“We’re supposed to be showing the birth of the Earth. Isn’t that great?”
Rosa Rosario, 12-year-old student
Here I am again writing about Arts in school education. My usual readers know my thoughts about the importance of Arts in Education.  Music is essential to a complete and better education.
And seeing this photo of Royston Maldoom, the British choreographer, working with sixth graders from Public School 161 in Manhattan on a dance set to Stravinsky’s' Rite of Spring, I could understand I was right to propose this activity to you, teachers.

“Young people who are traditionally denied access to the ‘high arts’ have extraordinary potential and can act as a catalyst for meaningful development within the community at large,”  It's true.

Roger Waters & Coro Juvenil Cova da Moura
The Wall, Lisbon 2011

Remember Music as social inclusion for kids. Roger Moore asked for the presence of a project of social inclusion for kids to be with him and his musicians on stage in Lisbon on the premiere of his European Tour The Wall (2011). 
Music and Dance has the potencial to achieve social transformation of vulnerable kids.
Sixteen ethnic kids from "Associação Moinho da Juventude da Cova da Moura" (near Lisbon) were on stage in a special participation with Roger Waters and his fourteen musicians. 

Level: All levels
Cross-curricular: Arts (Dance and Music); Literature.
Of course each teacher is free to prepare and adapt the activities to the level they are teaching. 

For Vocational education, I propose the video below as a motivation for discussing The Rite of Spring:

Credits; The Guardian

But not only Vocational schools can work on The Rite of Spring. Every public school can do it! Of course!
“I’m much more interested in education than art.”

Royston Maldoom, British Coreographer

For example, in 2007, the British choreographer Royston Maldoom brought the now canonical “Rite of Spring” to the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights as part of the Dance Project, in which 120 public school students, ages 7 to 17, danced to Stravinsky’s music as played by the Berlin Philharmonic
The Dance Project was a reprise of a 2003 program in which he led young Berliners through an original choreography to “The Rite of Spring.” 
The Lola Award-winning 2004 documentary Rhythm Is It! shows the transformation of a motley bunch of mostly disadvantaged immigrant Berlin teenagers into a disciplined troupe eager to join the world rather than be defeated by it. Please watch the trailer below:

"Birthdays are not only celebrations, they are milestones that offer a chance to look back and re-evaluate our past with the clarity of hindsight. Perhaps they can reveal where we may want to go next, or insights into why we are here, or maybe just help us ask better questions."

Christine Jowers

Hoping you will celebrate The Rite of Spring with your students!  And of course feel free to share your wonderful projects with me and my readers.

I know! This will take time! But you are free to develop this activity for a week, a month or two as long as you include it into your Music or Dance class. And don't forget to cross it with Literature curriculum. 

Working different projects with students takes some time but it feels so good! 

"Remember, you can change your life in a dance class."

Royston Maldoom


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Education : The Centenary of the Rite of Spring by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


The Guardian | Culture |Music
The New York TYimes | Arts

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