A new Rite of Spring for Meadows Dance Concert April 12-14

A new interpretation of The Rite of Spring by choreographer Joost Vroenraets will premiere at SMU’s 2013 Spring Dance Concert. Vroenraet’s 21st-century adaptation, plus three other works, will be performed by the Meadows Dance Ensemble of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The show runs April 12-14 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

This year’s concert also includes Valse Fantaisie with choreography by George Balanchine, Watershed by visiting artist-in-residence Adam Hougland, and In the City by faculty member and noted jazz dance artist Danny Buraczeski.

The night begins with Valse Fantaisie, a classical ballet piece performed by one male and five female dancers. The late George Balanchine was known for his musicality. Next is Hougland’s work, a duet titled Watershed. Hougland received his Bachelor’s degree from The Julliard School, where Watershed first premiered in 2006. He was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch in 2011.”

Bringing the first half of the concert to a close is the premiere of In the City. Buraczeski’s choreography was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s musical On the Town, and the 15-dancer piece celebrates “youth, optimism and the vibrant new energy that the Dallas Arts District has brought to the city.” Buraczeski, professor of classic jazz technique and composition in Meadows School of the Arts, has performed in concert halls and festivals in more than 35 states and in Europe and the Caribbean and was named Artist of the Year by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2000.

Photo by Sharen Bradford c/o Meadows

The second half of the concert is dedicated to The Rite of Spring. Vronenraets’ new interpretation will debut in conjunction with, and in honor of, the 100th anniversary of Vaslav Nijinsky’s groundbreaking original choreography. Nijinsky’s work premiered in 1913 in Paris, creating controversy because it “evoked a primitive Slavonic ritual glorifying the rites of spring, concluding with a human sacrifice.”

Vronenraet’s new interpretation is a version for the 21st century: He says that rituals today are more focused on social networks versus religion and spirituality. His work reflects this idea by having the dancers imitate a tribe of young virgins who create a perfect man that one woman mates with to create a new type of human.

Vrouenraets studied dance at the Rudra Béjart studio andschool and then danced for Béjart’s Company M and Ballet Lausanne. He is the co-founder of Gotra Ballet in Switzerland and is a regular guest artist at numerous schools. He received the Inspiration Prize 2012 from the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and the Nederlandse Dansdagen in 2008.

Dallas Observer: Behind the Scenes at SMU’s Rite of Spring

The Spring Dance Concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students. There is free parking available at Hillcrest and Binkley or in the garage under the Meadows Museum.

This year’s program will also be performed at the Winspear Opera House at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The dancers and the Meadows Symphony Orchestra will collaborate for this special performance in “Meadows at the Winspear.” Tickets are available from AT&T Performing Arts Center; the proceeds from this event benefit the Meadows Scholars program.