(photo credit: )
The Rite of Spring
Company Heddy Maalem (France)
Krieger hall, Haifa
This year, a hundred years after Serge Diaghilev founded Ballets Russes, a hothouse for the greatest talents of his time, from Nijinsky to Stravinsky; Picasso to Matisse - endless dance productions are popping up around the globe in his honor. The Rite of Spring (1913) - choreographed by Nijinsky to the groundbreaking music of Igor Stravinsky - which best epitomizes the era, has spawned hundreds of adaptations over the years. The three which left the strongest impression on Israel's dance turf over the years were choreographed by 20th Century icons such as Maurice Bejart (1959), John Neumeire, who introduced bear bodies (1972), and Pina Bausch (1975), whose rendition was danced on loose soil.
The exact components that attracted the modernists, in particular, to the primordial myth of pagan Russian fertility rites - including sacrificing a virgin to assure the rebirth of spring - are difficult to decode. Apparently it echoes some primeval memories buried under the skin. Even Heddy Maalem's production did its best to resonate the pagan ritualistic urges, perfectly captured in the powerful magic charm of the music.
Maalem offered his personal, sincere attempt to focus on the inherent ties between man and the elements of nature, with a charmingly naive group of a dozen black dancers who look like real people of different shapes and sizes.
There were many beautiful images of still silhouettes tenderly consummate their bond along forceful African, tribal style dancing ignited by rhythmic drums. Most dancers were not professionally trained, but had some raw talent with extra devotion and honesty. There were beautiful moments of great aesthetic value, using lights and projections. All told, the first half was better structured and said it all.