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Gestural ImaginariesDance and Cultural Theory in the Early Twentieth Century$
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Lucia Ruprecht

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190659370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190659370.001.0001

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Prologue

Prologue

Inaugurating Gestures—Le Sacre du printemps

Chapter:
(p.1) Prologue
Source:
Gestural Imaginaries
Author(s):

Lucia Ruprecht

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190659370.003.0001

The Prologue investigates The Rite of Spring in a triangular reading. It juxtaposes an analysis of Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography with two signature texts on the piece, which are also key documents of early twentieth-century gestural theory: Theodor W. Adorno’s chapter on Stravinsky in his 1949 Philosophie der neuen Musik (Philosophy of New Music), and Jacques Rivière’s 1913 essay entitled “Le Sacre du printemps.” Sacre is considered a primal scene of modernist gesturality, as the moment at which the revolutionary power and conceptual reach of gesture become discernible. The Prologue carves out a theory of gesture that defines the gestural as a form of interruption of the flows of music and movement. Gesture is associated with a punctuating and punctuated energy that is considered as an aesthetic strategy of productive impairment that not only manifests, but also critically exposes the primitivism which is Sacre’s signature trait.

Keywords:   Le Sacre du printemps, The Rite of Spring, Vaslav Nijinsky, Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Rivière, primitivism, motor dysfunction, productive impairment, choreographic gesture

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