Annual dance lecture to consider a musical ‘Everest’ for choreographers

Dance historian and critic Michael Crabb presents “Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps: A Fatal Attraction” as the featured speaker for the 2011 Selma Odom Lecture taking place Thursday, May 26, from 1 to 2pm in the McLean Performance Studio, 244 Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus.

Le Sacre du printemps is not only considered to be a turning point in the history of western music and dance, but also an emblematic socio-cultural watershed marking the advent of the modern age. Since its scandalous Paris premiere in 1913, Stravinsky’s monumental and explosive score has continued to lure choreographers – mostly like moths to a flame.

Crabb argues that this legendary work is a musical Everest that continues to challenge and defeat all but a handful of choreographers. “Le Sacre du printemps has acquired mythic power and magnetism, yet its essence and meaning remain as mysterious, elusive and imponderable today as they did almost a century ago,” he says.

Michael CrabbRight: Michael Crabb

Crabb is dance critic of the Toronto Star. He also contributes to many other publications including The Dance Current, Dance International, The Dancing Times (UK)and, in the US, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher and Pointe Magazine. For many years, he was a CBC Radio arts producer and broadcaster. He co-authored the book Dance Today in Canada (1977) and served as editor for Visions: Ballet and its Future (1980). His biographical study, An Instinct for Success: Arnold Spohr and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, was published in 2002. Over the course of a career spanning almost four decades, he has lectured widely on dance history and dance appreciation across Canada and the US.

Crabb’s talk will be followed by a reception.

The Selma Odom Lecture was established in 2010 to honour renowned dance scholar and educator, York University Dance Professor Emerita Selma Odom. A leading figure in Canadian dance studies and a mainstay of York’s Department of Dance for almost four decades, Odom recently retired from full-time teaching to devote herself to her research and writing projects.

Admission is free.