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21 Jun 2023

A new documentary by filmmaker Habib Azar captures the performance of the ballet “The Rite of Spring” by the Yale Dance Lab and the Yale Symphony Orchestra. Igor Stravinsky’s seminal ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” famously caused an uproar when it debuted in Paris in 1913. Stravinsky’s dissonant score and Vaslav Nijinsky’s staccato choreography struck a nerve and even provoked rioting in the Paris streets. More than a century later Stravinsky’s masterpiece still inspires artists and audiences. Earlier this year, the Yale Dance Lab and the Yale Symphony Orchestra (YSO) partnered with the Schwarzman Center, the university’s hub for student life and the arts, to restage the ballet with new choreography by Emily Coates, the Dance Lab’s founder, and Lacina Coulibaly, a lecturer and artistic associate with the program. “We were incredibly fortunate to have Habib Azar direct the film,” said Emily Coates, a professor in the practice and director of dance studies in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, with a secondary appointment in the Directing Program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. “We were extremely happy with the live production, and this film takes that work into the stratosphere. It is a gorgeous film, not merely a document of the performance, but a work of art in its own right.” Azar, a regular director for the series “The Metropolitan Opera Live” and “Live from Lincoln Center,” captured the creative energy of music and choreography in tandem. “His innately rhythmic editing allows viewers to experience the entire performance from a multitude of perspectives,” Coulibaly said. “We had cinematic aspirations,” Coates added, “and Habib achieved them.” “Habib was a brilliant choice to direct the film and the result is extraordinary,” Boughton said. “It can serve as a great recruiting tool in that it offers potential students a strong sense of the artistic opportunities and collaborations that are available to them at Yale.” Habib Azar is an eight-time Emmy-winning filmmaker and TAKREEM AMERICA 2023 Laureate for Cultural Excellence.

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