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Bolshoi cancels Wayne McGregor's Rite of Spring

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balletincinema.com just posted this to their facebook page:



New York – January 31, 2013 --- Emerging Pictures, the largest
all-digital specialty film and alternative content network of theatres
in the U.S., today announced that its scheduled presentation of
the Bolshoi Ballet’s new production of “The Rite of Spring” has been
cancelled as the result of the attack on Bolshoi artistic director
Sergei Filin. Earlier this month, Filin was savagely assaulted near his
Moscow home by a masked attacker who threw acid in his face. He
suffered third-degree burns and will very likely lose sight in one eye;
his recovery will take at least six months.
A new production with
commissioned choreography by Wayne McGregor was planned to celebrate the
100th anniversary of “The Rite of Spring.” The performance was to have
been screened as part of Emerging Pictures’s Ballet in Cinema series in
approximately 300 U.S. theatres beginning April 21.
Barry Rebo,
managing partner at Emerging Pictures, said, “We very much regret this
unavoidable cancellation. Our thoughts are with Mr. Filin and all his
colleagues at the Boshoi, and hope for his fullest possible and speedy
recovery. A suitable performance will be substituted for ‘The Rite of
Spring’ in Emerging network theatres.”
The official release from the Bolshoi read, in part:

“The Directorship of the Bolshoi theatre of Russia, with the
production crew headed by the choreographer Wayne McGregor, has come to a
joint decision to postpone the production of ‘The Rite of Spring’ due
to the fact that the artistic director of the ballet company of the
Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, Mr. Sergei Filin, is hospitalized. The date
of the production will be determined after the artistic director of the
ballet returns back to the theatre.”

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Guess this means they will alter the triple bill for the Bolshoi when they appear in London this summer .... Hopefully we will still have Diamonds .... Perhaps - if they wanted a RB connection - they could do Koburg's production of La Sylphide with the Balanchine.  

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Interesting - but why, if the company has been dancing Bayadere in Mr Filin's absence, for example, is there a perceived need to postpone this McGregor premiere?  Why should Mr Filin's presence be essential to that, as seems to be implied?  After all, he held his Skype session with the company, encouraging them all to dance and keep going, did he not?  Recalling that Chris Wheeldon's proposed Hamlet for the Bolshoi fell apart as originally planned, is it conceivable that all has not been going to plan in rehearsal for McGregor's Rite and that the Filin incident provides a convenient exit strategy?  Just a thought!

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Ian, I think your suggested  'exit strategy' reason for the cancellation is probably nearer the mark than most, given that Filin’s absence alone is a most unconvincing explanation  The Bolshoi may simply want to cancel this ‘Rite’ for reasons of their own - it will probably be some time before we find out what these reasons are.

I do wonder how much  Filin himself has to do with the cancellation, assuming he has at least been consulted about it?

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To what extent, if any, this advances my thesis above, I leave to others to judge, but I'm sure wayne McGregor must have been in San Francisco for the opening of his new work Borderlands as this decision was announced - he was certainly there a few days earlier for the annual Gala - and, as a generally regular and enthusiastic Tweeter, he appears to have retreated into silence of Carthusian dimensions since the announcement was made.  And I see Roslyn Sulcas now gently wondering too in one of today's Links:




One day we'll know a bit more about this, I'm sure.

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Alison:  I assume you're referring to the Dancing Times piece in today's Links, from which exactly that point jumped off the page as I read it.  I'm ever more convinced there's a bigger story in this 'postponement' on which Wayne McGregor is remaining silent, it seems.

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Guess this means they will alter the triple bill for the Bolshoi when they appear in London this summer .... Hopefully we will still have Diamonds .... Perhaps - if they wanted a RB connection - they could do Koburg's production of La Sylphide with the Balanchine.  

This from Voice of Russia today:


Dancers are no longer preparing to perform British

choreographer Wayne McGregor’s new version of the Rite of Spring,

sources say.

It is unclear why the ballet might have been withdrawn.


observers say that McGregor and Filin wanted to work very closely

together on the ballet, and with Filin in hospital for some time yet,

this may have been difficult to organise.


London ballet fans will be treated to the complete version of the ballet

Jewels, say the sources. Previously, only part of the ballet was to be

shown, along with the Rite of Spring.

Jewels is an exciting modern ballet that is extremely popular with audiences."


Not sure that I would call Jewels a "modern ballet", exactly...

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That seems to contradict what was stated elsewhere, namely that Picturehouses would be showing La Esmeralda (which would be a boon for Meunier and me, since the transmission failed at the cinema we were at at the time).

Esmeralda is for the live broadcast. Jewels is for their visit to London, which was supposed to include the new Rite.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Today's Links, in translation from Izvestia, it appears that the Bolshoi will replace McGregor's Rite with a diifferent, new version by Tatyana Baganova.  (The box to the left has the former still coming to London, but I suspect that's simply an error.)  And the same line is being maintained on the McGregor production, that there was/is no problem with it, and that it is simply postponed until Mr Filin is fit again.  So it appears that they will proceed with a new, rushed version without Filin, who is somehow indispensable to the McGregor version.  Odd and odder?  I leave that to you.




And should we place any weight on the concluding remark that Mats Ek has not been 'scared away' from continuing with a new commission, and that he is 'a brave man'?  In the Bolshoi context of recent weeks, can we parse those remarks for clues on the McGregor case? 

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