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Preview: The Rite Of Spring at Newcastle Dance City

Seeta Patel re-imagines the iconic ballet in Indian Dance UK tour

The Rite Of Spring
Newcastle Dance City 
Thursday 9th May 2019

Award-winning choreographer and performer Seeta Patel has reimagined the iconic ballet, The Rite of Spring in the powerful classical Indian dance style, Bharatanatyam.  With a cast of six outstanding performers, the opens at Newcastle Dance City on May 9th as the start of a UK tour.

Composer Igor Stravinsky wrote The Rite of Spring, the ballet and orchestral concert – widely considered to be his masterpiece - for the 1913 season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.  When it premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the avantgarde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and continues to be influential over a century later.

 “The Rite of Spring has been choreographed by many different artists and companies over the years,” says Seeta Patel.  “Nijinsky, Pina Bausch, Maurice Bejart to name a few.  But this will be the first time ever it will be done with the Bharatanatyam dance form.  I’m really excited to be bringing my first upscaled work to premiere at Newcastle’s Dance City.  It will be my first time presenting work at this amazing venue; it’s been a joy to rehearse in the lovely theatre there too.”

Seeta Patel
Patel’s production is set to be an exciting flirtation between East and West as it looks beyond notions of the exotic and orientalist perceptions of Eastern classical arts. The piece will showcase some of the finest international Indian classical dance talent in an exciting bridge between two very technical, powerful and evocative art forms: Western classical music and Indian classical dance.  Seeta Patel will bring a transformative re-telling of this tale through intricate rhythmic footwork, expressive prowess, geometric and dynamic movement.  

Stravinsky’s epic score gains a fresh perspective in Seeta Patel’s production through the use of Bharatanatyam, the dancers’ knowledge of Indian classical music to interpret the rhythms, and production design referencing the parched earth, the need for spring rain and the birth of new life. “We’ve played with lighting design and makeup effects and our two costume designers, who live in Bangalore, have inspired the look of the production with their beautiful textures,” says Seeta.

Patel’s The Rite of Spring brings together four of London’s key organisations: principal sponsor the Bagri Foundation, and co-commissioners the Place, Sadler’s Wells, and Akademi. “I’m thrilled that this project has captured the imagination of our partners,” says Seeta Patel.  “The idea was formed in 2017 following a seed commission from Akademi so it’s a joy to upscale and present it in London to celebrate Akademi’s 40th anniversary.  This is my first time working with the Bagri Foundation; however, Sadler’s Wells first presented my classical work in their Wild Card series in 2014, followed by a reprisal of the full-length show as part of the Darbar Festival in 2017.   The Place presented Not Today’s Yesterday, my one-woman show in collaboration with Lina Limosani in October 2018.  We hope this unique partnership will attract a breadth of audiences from across the city.  We’ll be rehearsing The Rite of Spring in the Place studios in the lead up to the tour and I’m already proud and humbled to think we’ll be able to create the work in such an iconic dance venue.”

Photos by Joe Armitage

Cast and creatives:
Choreographer and Artistic Director  Seeta Patel 
Dancers      Chris Gurusamy, Indu Panday, Kamala Devam, Moritz Zavan, Sarah Gasser, Sooraj Subramaniam
Lighting Designer    Warren Letton
Costume Designer    Jason and Anshu Arora
Producer     Sarah Shead, Spin
Arts Project Manager     Hayley Youell

The Rite Of Spring – Tour Dates:
May 9th  Newcastle, Dance City  
May 10th Ipswich, Jerwood DanceHouse
May 12th Leicester, Curve Theatre
May 13th Salford, The Lowry   
May 14th Birmingham Patrick Centre  
May 16th Bournemouth, Pavilion Dance South West
May 17th 18th London, The Place
May 21st Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre
May 23rd Bradford Kala Sangam

Newcastle Dance City Tickets:
Tickets: £16.50; £8.00 students & under 18s; £13.00 concession

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