The Potential for Subversion Denied in Sacre de Printemps

Decent Essays
Pina Bausch’s Sacre de Printemps is a performance that communicates the story of a ritual and human sacrifice. The performance begins with a large group of women dancing around a red cloth. Their movements are frantic, sharp, and aggressive and they both move in unison and break off into canon. Later on in the piece, a group of men join the women and they dance in separate groups, come together and form circles, and finally break off into pairs. When the men enter the performance, a ritual begins that involves the selection of one female for sacrificial purposes. The men select this woman, she changes into a red dress, and all the members of the cast look on as she dances until she falls to the ground dead. Throughout the piece, there are instances of subversion and instances of conformity to traditional gender roles in dance. The performance as a whole at times challenges traditional expectations of women and at others conforms to them. The movement and costumes convey initial potential for the subversion of male dominance that ends up confirming and upholding traditional roles and expectations of gender in dance. The dancers’ movements throughout the performance seem to challenge and uphold gender binaries at the same time. At the beginning, when only female dancers are present their movements are agentive, strong, quick, and athletic-characteristics not usually allowed for female dancers. Their movements are similar to the wild and physical movement of Louise
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