Anatomy of a Scandal: The Rite of Spring, 100 Years On

Tuesday, February 19, 6:00–7:30 P. M. Margaret Alkek Williams Dance Laboratory, Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston at Smith St. Thursday, February 21, 3:00 – 4:30 P.M. Margaret Alkek Williams Dance Laboratory, Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston at Smith St. Tuesday, February 26, 5:30 – 6:30 P. M. Booker Lowe Gallery, 4623 Feagan Street, 77007 (followed by a 7:00 P.M. reception in a private home) Wednesday, March 6, 7:30 – 9:30 P.M. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Avenue at Smith St.

When the curtain rose at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on May 29, 1913, the performance that unfolded was so revolutionary and so shocking that it caused a riot, and the police had to be called to quell the violence.  The premiere of The Rite of Spring was a watershed moment in Western culture, forever changing the course of classical music and dance. This provocative work is a collaboration of three of the most storied artists of the 20th century:  the barrier-breaking composer Igor Stravinsky; the legendary Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky; and the brilliant, maddening impresario Serge Diaghilev.

One hundred years later, this seminal event still reverberates through the culture.  In March 2013, Stanton Welch, artistic director of the Houston Ballet, will present a new staging of The Rite of Spring, deploying the company’s full complement of 54 dancers in an epic interpretation of the work. *

Tuesday, February 19:  Delve deeply into the rich, scandalous history of the Russian ballets with Dr. Nancy Bailey of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.   She will also present scenes from the documentary of The Joffrey Ballet’s recreation of the 1913 work.  Dr. Bailey holds M. A. and Ph.D. degrees in musicology from the University of Southern California.  Her lecture will be presented at the Center for Dance.

Thursday, February 21:  Go behind the scenes at the magnificent new award-winning Houston Ballet Center for Dance for a tour with General Manager Emeritus C. C. Conner and Executive Director Jim Nelson.

Tuesday, February 26:  Visit the Booker Lowe Galleries to see the stunning canvases by indigenous Australian artist Rosella Namok that inspired Mr. Welch’s re-creation of The Rite of Spring.  After visiting the gallery, you and the speakers are invited to a reception at a private home in nearby River Oaks.

Wednesday, March 6:  Be among the first in Houston to see the world premiere of a new production of The Rite of Spring when you attend the final dress rehearsal.

*Participants may also want to attend (on their own) the modern-dance staging of this work by Shen Wei of Beijing Olympics fame on Saturday, May 18 presented by Society for the Performing Arts.  Please note this performance is NOT part of the Houston Seminar course.



Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.