Award-winning choreographer and performer Seeta Patel has re-imagined the iconic ballet, The Rite of Spring in the powerful classical Indian dance style, Bharatanatyam.  

With a cast of six performers, the show comes to the Place in London for two nights – May 17 and 18– as part of a UK tour.

Composer Igor Stravinsky wrote The Rite of Spring, the ballet and orchestral concert – widely considered to be his masterpiece - for the 1913 season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.  

When it premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and continues to be influential over a century later.

“The Rite of Spring has been choreographed by many different artists and companies over the years,” said Seeta Patel.  

“Nijinsky, Pina Bausch, Maurice Bejart to name a few.  But this will be the first time ever it will be done with the Bharatanatyam dance form.” 

Patel’s production is set to be an exciting flirtation between East and West as it looks beyond notions of the exotic and orientalist perceptions of Eastern classical arts. 

The piece will showcase some of the finest international Indian classical dance talent in an exciting bridge between two very technical, powerful and evocative art forms: Western classical music and Indian classical dance.

Asian Image:

Stravinsky’s epic score gains a fresh perspective in Seeta Patel’s production through the use of Bharatanatyam, the dancers’ knowledge of Indian classical music to interpret the rhythms, and production design referencing the parched earth, the need for spring rain and the birth of new life. 

Seeta added,  “This incredible, exhilarating score is truly a wonderful challenge to take on as a choreographer. 

"As I’ve been unpicking and deciphering the work, I have been using my understanding of South Indian classical music structures to help bring into focus the wonderful patterns and textural developments Stravinsky uses to create tension, joy, foreboding and more. 

"This really is a work of visceral power and depth, and seamlessly compliments the beauty of Bharatanatyam.

“We’ve also played with lighting design and makeup effects and our two costume designers, who live in Bangalore, have inspired the look of the production with their beautiful textures.”

Patel’s The Rite of Spring brings together four of London’s key organisations: principal sponsor the Bagri Foundation, and co-commissioners the Place, Sadler’s Wells, and Akademi.

Seeta said, “I’m thrilled that this project has captured the imagination of our partners.

 “The idea was formed in 2017 followed by a seed commission and its presentation at Southbank Centre by Akademi. 

"So it’s a joy to upscale and present the finished work in the UK to celebrate Akademi’s 40th anniversary.  This is my first time working with the Bagri Foundation; however, Sadler’s Wells first presented my classical work in their Wild Card series in 2014, followed by a reprisal of the full-length show as part of the Darbar Festival in 2017.  

“The Place presented Not Today’s Yesterday, my one-woman show in collaboration with Lina Limosani in October 2018.  

"We hope this unique partnership will attract a breadth of audiences from across the city.  We’ll be rehearsing The Rite of Spring in the Place studios in the lead up to the tour: I’m proud to think that we’ll be creating the work in such an iconic dance venue.”

May 9th Newcastle, Dance City

May 10th Ipswich, Jerwood DanceHouse  Jerwood DanceHouse 

May 12th Leicester, Curve Theatre

May 13th Salford, The Lowry

May 14th Birmingham Patrick Centre  The Patrick Centre 

May 16th Bournemouth, Pavilion Dance South West Surf The Wave

May 17th 18th  London, The Place

May 21st Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre

May 23rd Bradford Kala Sangam