[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Ballet that Caused a Riot “When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

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This is another picturebook that I just happened to discover from our public library shelves, thanks to our current reading theme.

img_7234When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot

Written and Illustrated by: Lauren Stringer
Published by: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013 ISBN: 0547907257 (ISBN13: 9780547907253).
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer of modern music during the early 1900s. I like how he was described to hear an orchestra in his head as he creates his music “all by himself.”

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Vaslav Nijinsky, on the other hand, was considered one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century and known all over Russia. Their meeting somehow ignited a different spark, as they both served as each others’ muses, inspiring them to reach different heights in their artistic collaboration.

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This is one of those rare picturebooks with a clear cadence, a bouncy beat, a pounding rhythm as Stringer aimed to capture the “pom-di-di-pom” and the “tippy-tip-toed” reality of these two artists whose meeting allowed them to redefine art as they knew it then.

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I also particularly enjoyed how their collaboration has caused such a ruckus with some people either loathing or loving their new show The Rite of Spring, so much so that there were “fistfights in the aisles” and the police had to be called in. The ending of the ballet was met with “both vigorous applause and vigorous protests” as was seen in the Author’s Note. Now this ballet, I would have loved to see – clearly it’s a wild one.

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And thanks to Youtube, I found this whole concert clip which you can now enjoy. Have fun!

  1. How fun that there’s a picture book about it! My daughter has a “My Grandpa Beat Up Your Grandpa at the Rite of Spring Premiere” t-shirt.

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  2. This “sounds” and “looks” terrific. I wonder how many ballet students know the story? Thanks, Myra.

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