In 1913 in Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring), Igor Stravinsky brought us life through the spasms of a killing, the death of a young girl burned in a “primitive” ritual. Today we know that Stravinsky’s score was the foreshadowing of a war which lasted four years. It is also said that the work by Nijinsky and Stravinsky was an emblematic combination of the barbarism and modernity of the twentieth century. Jacques Rivière in his review of Sacre in September 1913, asked if Stravinsky’s piece instead of evoking things, confirms them, that Nijinsky’s choreography made the dance less interesting than the movement. In any case, Rivière spoke of Sacre’s score as “without effusion,” its “limited music,” its way of “direct, deliberate expression.” This is also part of Heddy Maalem’s choreography -- straightforward, devoid of unnecessary prettiness, without artifice, all driving toward one goal, the “desire to express something to the letter.”
The ensemble of dancers assembled for Le Sacre du Printemps are trained in both contemporary dance and the traditional dance forms of their respective countries of origin. Le Sacre du Printemps is the final part of a trilogy of dances including: Black Spring(2000), which deals with the recurring question of identity and perception of the African body, andL'Ordre de la Bataille (2002), which questions the meaning of existence in a war-torn world. Heddy Maalem collaborated with award-winning filmmaker Benoit Dervaux on each of the three parts of the Trilogy.
Fourteen utterly distinctive dancers from Nigeria, Mali, Benin and Senegal have come together for Heddy Maalem's explosive interpretation of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps. Maalem’s Sacre—furious and bold, straight forward and without artifice—is placed in urban Africa and inspired by the choreographer’s time in Lagos, Nigeria. Highly dynamic dance sequences and overwhelming group scenes are interlaced with intense scenes of silence and atmospheric film projections that provide provocative contrast to the music. Again and again, the male and female dancers—each one urgent and unflinching—melt into one unit, pulsating with energy.
Le Sacre du Printemps has had more than 100 performances throughout France, Portugal, Italy, Germany,
Dancers: Qudus Onikeku, Simone Gomis, Hardo Papa Salif Ka, Amie Gomis, Marie-Pierre Gomis, Marie Diedhiou, Alougbin Awoulathe, Rachelle Agbossou, Alou Cissé, Dramane Diarra, Alberto Jacinto Nhabangue, Kingsley Odiaka, Vincent Etagweyo, Koffitse Akakpo-Adzaku.
June 7 - 8, 2008 Charleston, SC Spoleto Festival