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Press Release: SW - The Rite of Spring and World Premiere of Petrushka - Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre - 11 - 13 April 2013

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Part of A String of Rites

Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre

The Rite of Spring & Petrushka



Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 April 2013         

Performances at 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 - £38

Ticket Office: 0844 412 4300 or www.sadlerswells.com


“Michael Keegan-Dolan’s savage and inspired rewrite of Stravinsky is… as exhilarating as it is harrowing.” The Times

When Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was first performed in 1913 the music and choreography caused a near riot in the audience. It has since come to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of the 20th century and has been performed all over the world in many different interpretations.

A String of Rites is a series of three events commissioned by Sadler’s Wells to mark the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky’s masterpiece. The first in the series is two works by Fabulous Beast and Sadler’s Wells newest Associate Artist Michael Keegan-Dolan, honouring two of Stravinsky’s most famous ballets.

Keegan-Dolan re-imagines his Olivier-nominated version of The Rite of Spring, which premiered at the London Coliseum in 2009 to great critical acclaim. The evening is completed by Keegan-Dolan’s new interpretation of Petrushka, composed by Stravinsky in 1911.  Performed by the dancers of Fabulous Beast, both pieces together create an intoxicating double bill of dance theatre that honours the searing modernity of Stravinsky’s music.           

In creating The Rite of Spring, Michael Keegan Dolan has drawn deeply on the same ancient, savage forces that inspired Stravinsky and his collaborators Vaslav Nijinsky and Nikolai Roerich one hundred years ago: fertility rites, ancestor worship, tribal and sexual politics, sacred dance, and sacrifice.  In this new production, a cast of 12 performers and two pianists will aim to distill and intensify the experience of the 2009 production.

Appearing on stage with the dancers of Fabulous Beast will be Lidija and Sanja Bizjak playing Stravinsky’s piano version score for both ballets. The Bizjak sisters are well known in their native Serbia and in France, where they have performed The Rite of Spring and Petrushka at concerts including the International Piano Festival at Roque d’Anthéron. The sisters’ CD of Stravinsky’s work for four hands on piano was released in France last year to critical acclaim.


Stravinsky’s score again provides the creative lead for Michael Keegan Dolan’s reimagining of the composer’s early work Petrushka,
which brings to life the violence, passion, celebration and stillness found in the music in an ensemble work for 12 performers that explores the concept at the heart of the story - until we are true we can never be free.

Both shows will be designed by Olivier award-winning Rae Smith, whose work includes the stage production of Warhorse and Complicite’s Street of Crocodiles and lighting by Adam Silverman whose recent work includes Julius Caesar at the English National Opera, Misterman at the National Theatre and Un Ballo in Maschera at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.


Notes to Editors:

The Rite of Spring

Le Sacre de Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky was written for the 1913 season of
Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes company with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky and designs by Nikolai Roerich.

When the ballet was first performed at the Theatre des Champs Elysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a near riot in the audience. It has since become one of the masterpieces of the 20th century and has been performed all over the world in many different interpretations.

The Rite of Spring/Petrushka is a Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre production in collaboration with Sadler's Wells, co-produced with Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg,  Brisbane Festival, Galway Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival. Supported by Culture Ireland as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency Culture Programme 2013. The Rite of Spring was originally developed as a co-production between English National Opera and Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre.

Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre

Described as ‘one of the most daring and highly original dance theatre companies in the world’ (The Times) Fabulous Beast is led by Irish director and choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan. Recent work includes Rian (2011), a co-production with Sadler’s Wells and Helen and Hell (2010). Rian has toured extensively; in 2013 alone it will have performed in Maison de la Danse, Lyon, Sydney Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris and St. Polten.

Fabulous Beast was previously best known for several ground-breaking and controversial productions, delivered in a unique style blending narrative and physical theatre, dance, speech and song and set in the Irish Midlands. These include two other Olivier Award-nominated productions Giselle (2003) and The Bull (2005), and also James Son of James (2007), which were co-produced with the Dublin Theatre Festival and bite at the Barbican Centre (London), of which Fabulous Beast was an Artistic Associate. Fabulous Beast’s productions prior to Giselle included: Sunday Lunch (1997); Fragile (1999); The Flowerbed (2000); and The Christmas Show

Giselle won the Judges’ Special Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2004 and in 2008, The Bull was awarded the UK Critic's Circle Award for Best New Dance Production. Fabulous Beast received a nomination for the 2009 Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities. Rian was nominated for a 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award. Michael Keegan Dolan is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist.

Fabulous Beast is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. International touring is supported by Culture Ireland.

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