From the opening notes of the screeching high bassoon solo all the way to the final curtain, the opening night audience of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was shocked and appalled at what they saw on stage and heard from the orchestra pit. Stravinsky’s dissonant and primitive music accompanied the violently jarring choreography of Vaclav Nijinsky. The audience was so shocked that a full-blown riot broke out in the theater! The ballet is a violent depiction of life in “pagan Russia”, as an ancient tribe performs a ceremony to honor the gods of the Earth. The elders then sacrifice a young girl to the gods by forcing her to literally dance herself to death!