Ballet’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ riot

Bill Haley and the Comets weren’t the first to start a riot in a theatre – ballet got there first.

Bill’s film Rock Around the Clock caused mayhem in 1956 when Teddy Boys began dancing in the aisles and tearing out seats in London’s Trocadero Cinema.

But an even more influential riot in 1913 greeted the opening performance of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring.

When the curtain rose on a cast of frenziedly stamping dancers, a riot ensued among the Parisian intelligentsia because of its innovations in form, rhythm, dissonance and its sheer sonic power.

In this year’s Buxton International Festival, writer Gillian Moore will explore the cultural climate that created The Rite and the riot and demonstrate how a scandalous novelty became a 21st-century concert staple.

It also influenced film music including scores for Star Wars and Jaws as well as musicians such as jazz legend Charlie Parker, Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and The Pet Shop Boys.

Book for Gillian Moore, 8 July

Book for Philip Moore & Huw Watkins perform The Rite of Spring piano duo, 8 July