On an NPR segment about the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” dance professor Lynn Garafola talks about this revolutionary ballet performance that shocked audiences a century ago. An excerpt:

“This was not ballet,” says Lynn Garafola, a professor of dance at Barnard College and author of a history called Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. “It was a style of expressive performance that was extremely violent, and that seemed to depart completely from conventional ballet vocabulary.

It included a lot of stamping. It included jumps. It didn’t aspire to be ethereal — in other words, to look like jumps that could hang in the air. … They seemed to go up simply to crash down into the earth. And then there were parts where they were simply trembling, when their hands were in fists, doing something that seemed, for all the world, to be primitive.”

Listen and read.

Prof. Garafola is an acclaimed dance historian who has written extensively about dance in Europe and the United States and curated magjor exhibitions about the New York City Ballet and Jerome Robbins. She was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a 2013-2014 Fellowship from The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers