Seeta Patel marries Indian classical dance and Western classical music in her Rite of Spring, featuring a company of 12 dancers.
Taking the South Indian classical dance form of bharatanatyam, with its intricate rhythmic footwork, geometric and dynamic movements and expressive prowess, Seeta Patel has created a compelling interpretation of the iconic Rite of Spring with a company of 12 dancers.
Patel brings the richness of bharatanatyam into a contemporary context with distinctive aesthetics, uniting Western classical music and Indian classical dance.
Unusually, this version subverts tradition by choosing a male as The Chosen One, elevating him to a deity to whom all sacrifice themselves. This is a spiritual exploration of a work through an Eastern philosophical lens.
Normally seen in solo presentations, this is a rare chance to see bharatanatyam performed in an ensemble piece. Accompanied live by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, this is a Rite of Spring but not as you know it.
Music score by Igor Stravinsky
There will be a break between Acts 1 and 2 of Stravinsky’s score for a 4’ interlude featuring Carnatic vocals sung by Roopa Mahadevan, composed by the singer (edited by Julien Kottukapally) solely for this choreography.
[Image description] Five dancers face us in a tight group, all with knees bent wide and arms extended to the sides, palms facing upwards, in a pose from the Indian classical dance form, bharatanatyam. Their faces are serious, the gaze lifted. They wear loose sleeveless tunics and trousers in lilacs, greens and pinks.
Header image © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Since its controversial premiere at the Theatre de Champs Elysees in Paris in 1913 the Stravinsky score has become a rite of passage for most choreographers. We recently saw Pina Bausch’s interpretation performed by dancers from across the African continent and Mats Ek and Israel Galván will accept the challenge this autumn. In 2023 we look forward to a Bharatnatyam infused version by Seeta Patel and Dada Masilo’s interpretation not using the Stravinsky score but inspired by the traditional dance and music of Botswana.Alistair Spalding CBE