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The Rite of Spring

Thursday, November 1 at 7:00pm
Irwin Theater, LAU Beirut

As part of BeÓr - 2018 Performance Residencies, Imagine Workshop & Concert Series IWCS presents the Performance of The Rite of Spring.

Artistic Director: Seba Ali

Little more than a century ago, a composer and a choreographer in Russia created a ballet and orchestral concert entitled The Rite of Spring. Different scenarios depicted various primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring, after which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death.
The music is widely recognized as one of the most influential works of the 20th century, and the production has been performed numerous times in various countries and through dance genres. Choreographers and artistic directors have often taken the opportunity to readdress the controversy and injustice of a female sacrifice.
Ahead of Thursday evening’s performance of the LAU production of The Rite of Spring, we take the opportunity to discuss the concept and standing of female sacrifice with five high achieving women: a curator, a writer, a dancer, a pianist and a conductor.

Leading the discussion are:

Pianist, educator, author, and social entrepreneur Kaiyin Huang

Dancer, choreographer and architect Christel Farah

Orchestra director and choir conductor Yasmina Sabbah

Writer, singer, and actor Milia Ayache

Journalist and oral history curator Reem Maghribi


Matilda is one of Sara Abou Mrad’s most particular allegorical Art collection where, ideas and images coincide, and through her art they are merge. In her particular collection “Matilda”, Sara Abou Mrad offers us a glimpse into her dreamlike world of sensuality and eroticism. She paints a fraction of her sacred emotion that is in us and in the world around. By her deep consideration of line, form, color layers, brushstrokes and with the use of raw, earthy and bold colors, Sara Abou Mrad reveals Matilda’s body, allowing us to feel the delicate feminine side in each painting. Matilda’s silhouette, embodies visions of solitude, fertility, love and sexuality. In each composition, Matilda communicates with the powerful presence of the fauna and flora, the four elements: water, earth, fire, air, and the palette of creatures, where the nude body is freed from confining doctrine, devoted to self-knowledge of ourselves, to our desires, our hates and loves. Therefore, the crisscrossing becomes a metaphor of osmosis between: Fragility and strength, fear and courage, rebellion and submission, life and death.


Supervised by Aliya Khalidi

Struggles the LGBTQ+ community, in Lebanon, faces on many levels.

Bayda by Pascale Jallouf (Arabic):

A monologue about a young woman who is subjected to a bizarre ritual in an attempt to rid her of her sexual orientation.

Sick Boy by Anthony El-Gemayel (English):

Tells the story of a young gay man who is unable to understand why he could be shunned by the people closest to him.

Inta W Hiyyeh by Nour Kobrosly (Arabic):  

The narrator is in a discussion with her God about her sexual orientation.


Choreography by Christel Farah and Sarah Fadel

Piano Four-Hands by Kaiyin Huang and Seba Ali

The Rite of Spring is like an explosion in the history of art. The dissonances, poly-tonalities, asymmetries, and polyrhythms create an artistic language of a new era. The original choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky depicts various primitive rituals celebrating the arrival of spring, after which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death. In an article in 1920, Stravinsky stressed that the musical ideas had come first, and that the pagan setting had been suggested by the music rather than the other way around. It is no coincidence that hundreds of choreographers have centralized their choreography around gender.

The Rite of Spring original piece was done by many pioneers in dance however what was striking was that they all used the same Virgin Female as the last resort of sacrifice. This female was presented as either a gentle human with desire to sacrifice herself for the benefit of her people, or the strong manipulated woman who will be indirectly forced into the sacrifice. She was either beautiful, strong, gentle or too feminine or animistic but never was she portrayed as a normal, one of the people, woman. Wondered why she was always a female and why was she portrayed in such unrealistic manners. Aren't mothers sacrificing themselves for the benefit of generations to come. Aren't woman all over the world, beautiful, ugly, weak, strong, dependent or independent sacrificing part of their own desires and beliefs for society. Haven't all woman already sacrificed in history enough so the" MAN" can continue to survive and as a reward she is still considered a secondary level of citizen. After all, if woman decided to refuse marriage and to give birth, they are still looked at as incomplete human beings. As if there is still one last sacrifice they need to give their life for, that if it did not happen, all their lifelong achievements and sacrifices are gone or being unnoticed. Not only women, but anybody who refuses to abide by the social laws that are by nature adaptable and flexible. Is it okay to treat each others and animals, if they don't share our religious beliefs, or our appearance, or our gender or our sexual preferences?

Read here for more information about the performance.

About IWCS (Imagine Workshop and Concert Series)
Imagine Workshop and Concert Series (IWCS) is a series of concerts, workshops, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, outreach and education programs. IWCS strives to contribute to the cultural richness of our community by promoting top quality performances to a diverse local audience; welcoming internationally acclaimed guest artists to collaborate with LAU's faculty, students and a diverse community; cultivating young artists and new audiences through traditional and innovative educational outreach initiatives, and introducing underprivileged communities to the power of arts.

For more info contact Dr. Seba Ali: seba.ali@lau.edu.lb

For more info about IWCS visit the Facebook page.

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