Brisbane Festival: Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring

BRISFEST19 Yang Liping's Rite of Spring - photo by Justin NicholasYang Liping’s production of Rite of Spring is a bold, new interpretation of this ballet into unconventional, contemporary form.

Presented in three parts, Liping has constructed a new framework around Stravinsky’s original musical score. Part I, Incantation and Part III were performed to music by Chinese composer, Xuntian He, who is a professor at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring composition was central and pivotal in Part II, Sacrifice.

Combining both Chinese and Tibetan symbolism, Yang Liping has reinterpreted this revolutionary ballet. The ballet’s essential sacrificial and renewal elements are maintained as the performance moves forward from the stillness and peace of Incantation to frenzied dance.

There are moments of surging beauty as the dancers evoke a mermaid type image whilst tethered to what appears to be interlocked wooden stools. The sole male dance makes his princely entrance at this point. He is a lithe combination of muscular, masculine beauty married to speed and grace.

The production is mesmerising, exotic and undeniably, erotic. Yang Liping has created a modern masterpiece of contemporary choreography. She appeared at the conclusion of the performance to receive the applause of the delighted audience. At sixty, she is still youthful and beautiful.

Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring
Playhouse – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Performance: Wednesday 25 September 2019 – 7.30pm
Season: 25 – 28 September 2019

Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring will also be presented at Arts Centre Melbourne: 3 – 6 October as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Image: Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring – photo by Justin Nicholas

Review: Michele-Rose Boylan