Seeta Patel Presents ‘The Rite of Spring’

Dancers Kamala Devam and Sooraj Subramaniam photo by Joe Armitage


re-imagines the iconic ballet in Indian Dance

UK tour dates May 2019
Click here for trailer

May 17th, 18th  London, The Place
Press night:  May 17th at 7.30pm
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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 outstanding performers, the show comes to the Place in London for two nights – May 17th and 18th – 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 eminent artists and companies over the years,” says 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.”


9 May: Dance City, Newcastle

10 May: Ipswich, Jerwood Dance House

12 May:  Curve Theatre, Leicester

13 May: The Lowry, Salford

14 May: The Patrick Centre, Birmingham 

16 May: Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth

17 & 18 May: The Place, London 

21 May: Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham

23 May: Kala Sangam, Bradford 

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.  Seeta Patel will bring a transformative re-telling of this tale through intricate rhythmic footwork, expressive prowess, geometric and dynamic movement.

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.

Says Seeta:  “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.

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

Choreographer and Artistic Director               Seeta Patel
Dancers                                                                  Chris Gurusamy, Indu Panday, Kamala Devam, Moritz Zavan, Sarah Gasser, Sooraj Subramaniam
Lighting Designer                                                Warren Letton
Costume Designer                                               Jason and Anshu Arora
Producer                                                                Sarah Shead, Spin Arts
Project Manager                                                  Hayley Youell

Funders and Supporters:
Principal partner the Bagri Foundation, co-commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, The Place, Birmingham Hippodrome, Curve, The Lowry, Pavilion Dance South West, Dance 4
and Akademi as part of their 40th anniversary.

Supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Dance City, Kala Sangam, Spin Arts and Yorkshire Dance.

Seeta Patel has also been working with three of Sadler’s Wells’ National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) alumni and three Bharatanatyam artists to create a work where Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance coexist, to inform and inspire, and to celebrate the styles and dancers for their strengths. This professional development project, entitled Dance Dialogues, is supported by National Youth Dance Company and Kadam Dance, and forms part of Patel’s reimagined The Rite of Spring tour in Birmingham/May 14th, London/May 17th 18th, and Nottingham/May 21st.

Born in London, Seeta Patel began training under the guidance of Kiran Ratna in 1990 and has since worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals including Mavin Khoo, Padma Shri Adyar K Lakshman, Pushkala Gopal, Darshan Singh Bhuller, DV8 Physical Theatre, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, David Hughes Dance Company, Gandini Juggling (subsequently winner of three awards at the Edinburgh Fringe) and more.

Over the past 12 years she has received numerous awards and bursaries for her creative and professional development; she was awarded the Lisa Ullmann Travel Scholarship to study in India (2005) and at the New York Film Academy (2013). She has presented many solo and ensemble works including Shringara (2009) Last One Standing (2010), and First Light (2014). In 2013 she produced and starred in the award winning short dance film, The Art of Defining Me along with dancer Kamala Devam, (dancer in Seeta’s new production The Rite of Spring).

In 2015 Seeta was second round judge, mentor and consultant for the South Asian category in the inaugural BBC Young Dancer Competition; in 2016 she choreographed a new play, The House of In Between by playwright/actor Sevan K. Greene at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

In 2018 she toured her critically acclaimed solo show, Not Today’s Yesterday to audiences all over the UK. Not Today’s Yesterday was made in collaboration with Australian choreographer Lina Limosani (Aus).  It was the recipient of the Adelaide Artist Fringe Fund and did a successful run at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2018 winning Best Dance and the Peace Foundation Award. The UK tour – which continues in 2019 – features a series of curated post-show talks with vital voices on the subject matter including activists, historians and artists.

Seeta is also currently touring internationally with the multi-award winning show Sigma which she choreographed with Gandini Juggling.

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