Rite of Spring Project


November 17 at 7 PM and November 18 at 3 PM, The United Palace Theater (175th Street and Broadway)

Starting in September 2007, 120 New York City public school students, ranging in age from seven to 17 and spanning grades two through 12 will participate in twice-weekly workshops with professional choreographer Royston Maldoom and his team to learn original choreography to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. After eight weeks of rehearsals, the students will perform the piece live with the Berliner Philharmoniker before an audience of over 3,000 at The United Palace Theater in Upper Manhattan.

Carnegie Hall has drawn the inspiration for this project from the Berliner Philharmoniker’s 2003 outreach initiative, in which the orchestra and 250 students performed Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring before an audience of 3,000 in Berlin’s Treptow Arena. The students, drawn from Berlin’s diverse ethnic communities, had rehearsed for nearly three months, guided by Maldoom and his team of choreographers.

The Rite of Spring was the Berliner Philharmoniker’s first major educational project with Sir Simon Rattle, and it proved to be a profound demonstration of how a project of this scope can bring out the very best in young people. The project was documented in the award-winning film Rhythm Is It!, which shows the personal and social transformation that took place among participants.

The Dance Project offers an exciting opportunity for students to be engaged in a transformative learning process with professional choreographers and an exciting live performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker. The Dance Project residency will provide students with a safe environment in which to cultivate their individual creativity and personal expression through dance.

The Dance Project Choreography Team

Royston Maldoom, Volker Eisenach, Anja Mueller

The Dance Project Cast

Little Ones Cast
PS 153, Grade 2

Main Cast
PS 161, Grade 6
Choir Academy of Harlem, Grades 6–9
Bread & Roses Arts Integrated High School, Grades 10–12
Harlem School of the Arts

Royston Maldoom on The Rite of Spring

I have always been inspired by the passion of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, not just the music but the dynamic choreography of the orchestra that plays it. It is a piece I have choreographed many times since the late 1980s: first in London, followed by schools and communities in the UK, and with street kids in Ethiopia and Peru. I first presented it in Germany in 1991 in Duisburg for the European Youth Dance Festival, and later in the same year in Berlin as part of a German-British Youth Dance Exchange. Finally I was offered the chance to recreate it in 2003 with the world-renowned Berliner Philharmoniker under its new artistic director and conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, whose rendering of this musical masterpiece I have always admired.

I am delighted to be able once again to collaborate with the orchestra and to present a performance of The Rite of Spring with young people living in Manhattan. My early memories of New York go back to the 1970s, when I studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and I later visited the city as guest choreographer with the celebrated Dance Theater of Harlem. The theme of The Rite of Spring—a society preparing to sacrifice the lives of the young for its own short-term gain—is, sadly, as relevant in the first decade of the 21st century as it was in the pagan Russia that Stravinsky evokes in his music.

© 2001–2007 Carnegie Hall Corporation