At the debut, a critic defined Vaslav Nijinsky’s dance for Le Sacre du Printemps “a crime against grace.” The indignant reviewer had hit the heart of the matter: just as Stravinsky with his shocking score had undermined every previous rule and musical tradition , Nijinsky had tried to bring dance back to its zero degree: only in the brutal annihilation of the codes could the primordial truth of instinct and impulse be found, well evoked by Stravinsky’s score.
And since 1913, every choreographer who has sought a confrontation with Le Sacre has had to seek in the dance and in the body of the dancers a reason for being as strong and shocking as the granite and turbulent sound wall raised by Stravinsky, in order not to remain, at the same time. fine, crushed.
The latest in a prestigious series of authors, Wayne McGregor faced the challenge of the Sacre four years ago for the American Ballet Theater and has returned now, conceiving a Stravinsky diptych for the Balletto della Scala, in which his reading, entitled AfteRite, it is followed by the absolute novelty LORE, on the score of Les Noces, staged ten years after Sacre again by a Nijinsky, the brilliant Bronislava. To the juxtaposition of the two titles, pertinent since its historical motivations, McGregor, the writer zma Hameed’s precious accomplice, has added a dramaturgical texture as powerful as it is suggestive: if in fact in AfteRite we witness the last days of the Earth and the battle for the survival of the planet and mankind that will lead to the most tragic of choices, in LORE (a term that alludes to the transmission of the traditions of a people) we follow the fate of the survivors of the ancient tragedy and their possibilities of adapting to the rules of the new order.
A dramatic choice
As in the original Sacre, AphteRite too, it was said, has a dramatic choice at its center. The only hope of continuity of the species is glimpsed in the glass greenhouse where some precious plants are kept, tangible signs of a life cycle. Two little girls guard it, also a hopeful sign of a continuity of the species. But is not so. One will have to be sacrificed for this and it will be the mother in a chilling scene to choose which of her creatures will have to succumb.
She is therefore the fulcrum of AphteRite’s pathos, a desperate and angry creature to which Alessandra Ferri – already creator of the role with American Ballet Theater – returns to bring her absolute stature as a tragédienne of dance. However, there is something in the work that slows down the total empathy of the public: McGregor’s dance (which curiously, perhaps unique in the history of Sacre, uses the tips, conceptually antithetical to the themes of the work) is often ‘”slowed down” choosing to adhere prudently to the Stravinsky rhythm, remaining “within” its boundaries and stylizing the unmistakable polycentrisms in more aesthetic than dramatic movements: only in Ferri’s furious final duet with her tormentor form and content do they find the perfect combination amplified by the terrifying Stravinsky music for the dance of the Chosen.