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Afternoon of a Faun, The Rite of Spring
Chouinard Brings Company to Calgary
May 2008 (Page 62)
What do you get when you combine a choreographer with “a raw, honest, and gritty expression of our human form”, where music that is meant to “depict a wild pagan spring ritual?” A fantastic performance created by multi-award winning choreographer and Compagnie Marie Chouinard founder Marie Chouinard. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring are coming to the Grand from May 6th to 10th.
Chouinard is an original. Hailing from Quebec City, this “creative genius” has intrigued audiences since she began as a solo artist in 1978. Through such works as Petite dans sans mon (where she was banned from the Art Gallery of Ontario for a urination scene) and Marie Chien Noir (encompassing a masturbation scene) she has followed her own passion for displaying the art of the body through performance. Since its formation in 1990, Montreal based Compagnie Marie Chouinard has utilized Chouinard’s eclectic style and vision by maintaining original, timeless masterpieces. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and The Rite of Spring are two of the companies most admirable and critically acclaimed performances.
Igor Stravinsky’s musical ensemble The Rite of Spring has seen some scandal itself. When first performed in 1913, audiences were both horrified and entranced with the modernity and crassness of the piece. Eventually the audience’s differences of opinions erupted into a riot, resulting in Stravinsky running out on his own performance, traumatized by its reception.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is also all too familiar with scandal. Adapted from a poem written by Stephane Mallarme in 1867 about the sensuous escapades of a faun and some nymphs he met in a forest, Claude Debussy created its musical interpretation. In 1912, choreographer Vaslav Nijinski choreographed his own interpretation of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by giving an “intense and sensual life-to his own raw and animalistic, erotic nature, thereby abruptly breaking with classical tradition.” No doubt inspired by this rebellion and sexual energy, Marie Chouinard executed her own performance of both of these works.
As a “new artist of the body” Chouinard has choreographed ten dancers coupled with dynamic lighting into a collection of sporadic, forceful, almost dreamlike movements. “Although her works may be perceived as provocations, they are better viewed as pathways towards freedom and compassion, where humour is possible and Eros omnipresent.” There is no direction or group cohesiveness, Chouinard explains in these works. What she does is create a performance solely based on solo work with a forceful synchronicity to each of the dancers’ moves. Themes in the music do not go unnoticed by the dancers. It is as if the dancers are themselves the music, embracing Chouinard’s belief that “the performance is the unfolding of that moment.”
A mixture of scandal, musical genius, and a choreographer’s vision are three reasons why you should see Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring. Chouinard’s performances in 2005 at The Grand sold out quickly, another reason why you should purchase your tickets today.
Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring
May 6th - 10th, 2008
Theatre Junction at The GRAND
608 1st Street SW
Calgary, AB T2P 1M6
tel 403 205 2922 ext 206
fax 403 263 3605
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