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The mutations of spring and the riots it brings

by on February 6, 2013

21_CasPublicWhen choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring premiered in 1913 it was so controversial that audience members had fistfights in the aisles. Fast forward to present day and parents still don’t understand “kids these days” and their “so-called music”. Cas Public’s Variations S, a refreshing, high-energy work inspired by the Ballet Russes and the infamous Nijinsky choreography, will hit The Playhouse stage on Thursday, February 28. Comprised of eight dancers and a live DJ, it is a bold homage to fierce teenage determination to break from the crowd and carve out a place of their own.

Long fascinated by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Montreal choreographer Hélène Blackburn has created a unique way to approach this fertile period of dance history. Along with the extraordinary performers of Cas Public and the turntablist, musician, and composer Martin Tétreault, she has reinvented Stravinsky’s masterpiece Rite of Spring. Fresh and energetic, the hip-hop and ballet influenced Variations S delves into the enduring theme of the youthful thirst for intensity and passion.

In the course of her research, Hélène Blackburn became increasingly interested in The Rite of Spring. In this towering work she found themes – spring, the elect, sacrifice – conducive to the creation of a show for young audiences. Drawing inspiration from the energy and raw power of the choreography, she invited composer Martin Tétreault to create a musical score that fosters a dialogue with Stravinsky’s masterpiece and the music of DJs so dear to adolescents. While remaining a work for general audiences, Variations S, conceived for nine dancers, will be unique in that it will be geared primarily to adolescents and preadolescents – people going through a stage of life so akin to the mutations of spring.

Variations S is a coproduction of Théâtre du Bic, Tanzhaus nrw de Düsseldorf and Agora de la danse. This creation has benefited from creation residencies at Agora de la danse, Maison de la culture Frontenac and Maison de la culture Mercier.

Tickets for Cas Public’s Variations S are available at the Fredericton Playhouse box office 1-866-884-5800, or online at

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