Primitive Rituals, Contemporary Aftershocks: Evocations of the Orientalist 'Other' in Four Productions of Le Sacre du printemps

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Abstract

This paper situates the original choreography of Sacre as a basis for an ongoing exploration of non-Western themes in modern dance, a persistent fascination with the Orientalist ‘Other,’ before exploring the versions choreographed by Wigman, Bausch and Graham in chronological order of their first performances. In analysing different interpretations of the same score, two themes become apparent: first, that this piece heralded the birth of Modernism in classical dance performance, and second, that the driving anti-classical, anti- traditional rhythms that characterise the piece communicate an enduring interest in primitive aesthetics. Accordingly, this discussion takes Nijinsky’s Sacre as a starting point in re-evaluating the influence of primitivism and Otherness on contemporary dance, and represents an early indication of the significance of the Saidian, non-Western ‘Other’ in shaping the evolution of avant-garde dance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-143
JournalAvant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies
Volume4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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