The Rite of Spring
When the dancers leave the stage after one hour, an uneasy silence falls upon the audience. The dance of horror with which the "Theater der Klaenge" tears across the "Juta" stage, painfully recalls the tortures of the concentration camps, the war crimes in Kosovo and East Timor, the assassinations in Algerian Villages, black ritual ceremonies, the excessive Neonazi violences, the horrific plans of children in the bavarian forest who wanted to shoot their teacher dead. One needs time to recover. Then drops of applause meet the dancer’s petrified faces. By the third curtain call, smiles reappear on their lips, as the audience has released the tension through clapping, and are in the position to praise the dancers for their outstanding performance, by tramping and applause.

The 1913 world premiere of the piece on which this performance was based happened quite differently. At the Champs Elysees Theater in Paris there was uproar, indignation and outbursts of rage. Igor Stravinsky’s "Rite of Spring", choreographed by Nijinsky, became a scandal. People did not tolerate the violence. It would however break out a year later in the first World War.

Today, at the end of our century, we can only respond to this violence with apprehensive resignation. It is delivered to us on a daily basis in our living rooms. And almost anybody can report his own personal story of violence, as did the dancers at the beginning of the production.

The Stravinsky - Nijinsky production dealt with the ritual sacrifice of a virgin in the dim and distant past. Joerg Lensing and his troupe brought the subject to the present. They supplanted parts of the Stravinsky music with their own compositions consisting of roaring industrial and percussion sounds. They made a gripping subject able to be experienced with all senses: the smell of sweat hanging in the air, the blinding flashlights, the earsplitting crash sounds during the assault of the six criminals.

An experience discordant as a corrida, which is related to us at the onset by one of the dancers: swaying between the disgust, fascination and exhilaration of masses and
power, the archetypal death and violence and the horror of this fascination. The violence is in each one of us and is a group act. The piece stands clear without the
need to spill red dye or body fluids all over the stage, as Christoph Schliengensief would do.

The "Theater der Klaenge" restricts itself to the use of a bucket full of mud. In an impressive scene of avowal of brotherhood and friendship - worshipping and conspiring with their violence guru (Clemente Fernandez) - the six smear their upper naked bodies. Together they are strong, strengthened by their leader and their uniform, ready to let all hell loose. This is not a contest of strength. Here a powerless victim (the very moving Maura Morales) must be the one to suffer in order to help a group of weaklings experience a short frenzy of superiority.

The choreography by Joachim Schloemer, Jacqueline Fischer, Kerstin Hoerner and Joerg Lensing demands from the dancers utmost precision and energy. Or else there is the danger of getting hurt. In that sense the piece has yet another appeal on a second level, which plays itself in the staging: the concern over the intactness of the acting ensemble; a rope act on a steel cable, as exciting as the throwing of knifes in the circus. Also a fascination which provokes disquiet.

The ones who are familiar with the "Theater der Klaenge" may be surprised about this piece. It is different than what has been seen before: no feast of masks and costume, no endless scene medleys. Instead, short, succinct and volcanic, a huge amount of material to think about. Astonishing, but really not. The spirit of experimentation of this company has once more turned a new page.

Rheinische Post
"Violence has a lot of faces. The "Theater der Klaenge" has closely inspected, recorded the scent, followed the curve of the oppressive escalating spiral, soaked the atmosphere of opening night with the sweat of hysterical group dynamics, and left behind an initially flabbergasted but soon after enthusiastically applauding audience.

The contemporary answer to Stravinsky’s "Rite of Spring" ballet of 1913 gets under your skin, without break, without mercy. It abstains from words of explanation, leaves the aggressive language to bodies and music. (…) The ecstatic frenzy is at the same time a frighteningly perfect choreography in dull stamping leaps, exhausting gasps. The helplessness of the Victim hurts. (…) What to do?, beyond the knowledge of self, asks himself the spectator. After a performance which doesn’t aim for the head, but for the pit of the stomach and means to be a comment on the increase of brutality."

"When the eight young people (three women, five men) first roll onto the stage floor, rocking silently back and forth, the audience has no idea yet of the hurricane like storm that will shortly sweep across the Juta (Junges Theater in der Altstadt). The "Theater der Klaenge" from Duesseldorf delivers with its eleventh production a commentary on violence in the 20th century , an adaption of the 1913 infamous "Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky, whose suggestive music described a victimisation ceremony. In "The Rite" the ensemble reaches out for drastic means, pulls us into a current of eccessive displays power (…) The public needs time to free themselves out of stunned paralysis. First a tentative applause, which increases unexpectedly, honoring an unsettling, unnerving performance which leaves one not comfortable "

" (…) this frightful production, to which even the half of the title falls victim. The Rite of Spring? Spring has vanished, the victim stays. The sweat of the dancers lingers in the air, or is it the sweat of fear of the spectator? The roaring of the gloomy drumbox-beats is still echoing, the oppressive atmosphere pounds, the terror of power drags and wears down. Lust and frenzy vibrate. An explosion of cruelty. The hunger to kill. A masterful feat of strength, a strain, depressing images. (…) The main part of the first section "The kiss of the earth", will be molded out of techno- drumrolls and reduced percussion, the dance and images of the second section, "The big victim" will then accompany Stravinsky’s original orchestral music. A highlight to this evening of the extreme is Joachim Schloemer’s opening dance: the delicate hesitant beginning solo "Dance of the virgin" to the live accompaniment by pianist Osia Toptsi and Michael Zischang (…)."

" (…) here in the "Jungen Theater in der Altstadt" in Duesseldorf, tremendous and violent depth for spectators who have not yet become deadened to the reality of the news on TV. (…) The staging in three parts is well thought out -perhaps too much. The concrete stories, told in monologues, about forms of violence - in war, on the street, against foreigners, to animals, is followed by an abrupt scene change, namely the pure, beautifully flowing, self-sufficient "Dance of the maiden", and then further a more severe break, when the young girl and a second one fall victim of a rampaging boys gang, who play their bad jokes on them. (…) To evoke a feeling for the omnipresence of power, to make its latent nearness perceptible - that is the concern of the "Theater der Klaenge". That is felt every minute of the performance, the message comes over, unreserved, unfiltered, direct (…)

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