One’s reaction to the Joffrey Ballet’s reconstruction of Nijinsky’s original 1913 choreography for Le Sacre du printemps, unveiled in New York during the company’s fall season at City Center, depended to a great extent on one’s expectations. Knowing that the production was being supervised by two Ph.D.s for a dance company not noted as a creative institution, I expected an academic exposition dutifully executed, which is pretty much what I got. And was thrilled to get.
Can any other score have suffered the indignities that have been heaped upon Le Sacre since its demise as a ballet nearly three-quarters of a century ago? Merely to list the names of some of those who have perpetrated their choreography upon it makes one recoil: Maurice Béjart, John Neumeier, Glen Tetley, Hans van Manen, Oscar Araiz, Pina Bausch, Valery Panov . . . .