picture of Stravinsky
lab51 clef icon Igor Stravinsky
Le Sacre du Printemps
(Paris, May 29, 1913)
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Action in The Rite of Spring

Information from Robert Craft’s notes to Stravinsky’s sketchbook, and from Stravinsky’s choreographic notes in the four hands piano score.

I. L’adoration de la terre (The adoration of the earth) [day]

1. Introduction (p.3)
Performed before the closed curtain

2. Les augures printaniers. Danses des adolescentes (Signs of Spring; Girls’ dance; p. 11).
The curtain goes up at Rehearsal No. 13. An old woman teaches rituals to young girls.

3. Jeu du rapt (Game of abduction; p. 28).
Men appear; each seizes a girl; a group dance.

4. Rondes printanières (Spring rounds; p. 38)
In the “Khorovod chant”, Rehearsal Nos. 48-49 and 56-57, the women stand apart; in the main dance five circles gyrate slowly, then at the orchestral tutti they form a single large circle.

5. Jeu des cités rivales (Game of rival cities; p. 46)
A tribal war-game for men; two contrasting groups compete.

6. Cortège du sage (Procession of the Oldest and Wisest One; p. 59)
Presaged by tubas in the previous dance, a procession with the Sage and the women arrives at a space cleared for them in the center.

7. Adoration de la terre (The kiss of the Earth; p. 62)
The Sage, on his knees, kisses the earth.

8. Danse de la terre (Dance overcoming the earth; p. 62)
Stravinsky describes the dancers first "rolling like bundles of leaves in the wind," then "stomping like indians trying to put out a prairie fire".


II. Le sacrifice (The sacrifice) [Night]

9. Introduction (p. 72)
Performed before the closed curtain

10. Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes (Mystic circles of girls; p. 80)
Six females in a single circle; they pace the area, drawn on the stage, where the sacrifice will take place. At Rehearsal No. 93, solo flute and clarinet mark two solo dancers, the only solo movements except the Sacrificial Dance. At Rehearsal No. 102 (p. 84) one of the maidens is chosen by lot; from now until the sacrificial dance she stands still, trembling.

11. Glorification de l’élue (Glorification of the chosen victim; p. 86)
During the preceding crescendo the the men appear at the sides; during the eleven chords the women retire. The dance is a "choreographic hocket" for the men, leaping between stage right and stage left.

12. Evocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the ancestors; p. 99)
Another dance for men; the elders appear, and at Rehearsal No. 128 they squat in front of the circle.

13. Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual actions of the ancestors; p. 103)
Intended as a kind of ghost-dance, performed by women.

14. Danse sacrale (Sacrificial dance; p. 112)
At the beginning, the victim is alone with the women. At Rehearsal No. 149 the men reappear and mark time to the ostinato; the victim moves to the brass quintuplets. At Rehearsal No. 167 the dance is resumed with elders only; at Rehearsal No. 174 the men reappear with the brass and timpani; from Rehearsal No. 186 only the victim moves. At the end, the elders stand, extend their hands and raise the victim as she falls.


A (slightly less complete) PDF version is also available.