Firebird + Rite of Spring logo

Director’s Cut
Firebird + Rite of Spring

March 21-24
Music Hall

Where classic meets contemporary

Experience the colossal blend of music and dance in this dazzling pair of works by Cincinnati favorite, Adam Hougland, both set to the music of the iconic Igor Stravinsky. The first is Rite of Spring, a ritualistically visceral tale that is breathtaking and tribal at the same time. The second is the intoxicating Firebird, Hougland’s unique take on the classic ballet about the intertwined lives of a hunter and a magical bird.


  • Contemporary Choreography

Adam Hougland

Igor Stravinsky performed by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Cincinnati Ballet Dancers

As he hunts in an enchanted forest, Prince Ivan encounters a legendary immortal creature: The Firebird. Captivated by her beauty, the Prince traps and keeps her. The Firebird struggles, but cannot escape.

Taking pity on the beautiful Firebird, the Prince releases her. In exchange for her freedom and as a token of gratitude, the Firebird gives Prince Ivan a feather. If the Prince is ever in trouble, he can simply wave the feather, and the Firebird will rush to his rescue. She disappears.

Prince Ivan continues deeper into the forest. He comes across seven beautiful, dancing princesses. The cages princesses are prisoners of a cruel, immortal monster named KatscheÏ, who rules over the enchanted forest. Prince Ivan falls in love with Tsarevna, one of the princesses.

KatscheÏ enters with his monsters, warrior princes turned into minions under his spell. He discovers Ivan with Tsarevna, and attempts to kill him.

Remembering the Firebird’s promise, Ivan waves the magic feather.

The Firebird appears and casts a spell on KatscheÏ and his monsters, forcing them to dance until they collapse from exhaustion. The Firebird then lulls the dancing monsters to sleep. She destroys KatscheÏ’s enchantment, freeing the monsters (who turn back into princes), the caged princesses and all inhabitants of the enchanted forest.

All celebrate as Prince Ivan and Princess Tsarevna marry. The liberated princes and princesses marry.

The eternal forces of good and evil co-exist now in a renewed balance, represented by the immortal beings KatscheÏ and the Firebird.

Rite of Spring
In Hougland’s interpretation of Rite of Spring, the group of dancers represent a soulless culture lacking connection to the natural world. The central character personifies everything that is alive and beautiful, yet ultimately fragile and temporary. She is like a beautiful flower that blossoms only for a moment and is then destroyed. One must consider whether she is the chosen one or merely the next in line to experience a similar fate in the community that oppresses her.

Join us before the performance in the theater for the opportunity to meet choreographers, dancers, and members of the creative team. For admission to Meet the Artist, please present your Director’s Cut ticket.

– March 21 at 6:45 PM – Hear from Artistic Director Victoria Morgan, Choreographer Adam Hougland, & Repetiteur Dawn Kelly
– March 23 at 7:15 PM – Hear from Artistic Director Victoria Morgan, Ballet Master Ogulcan Borova, & Principal Dancer Sirui Liu
– March 24 at 5:45 PM – Hear from Artistic Director Victoria Morgan, Ballet Master Ogulcan Borova, & Principal Dancer Melissa Gelfin

Director's Cut: Firebird + Rite of Spring Performance Schedule

7:30 pm

  • Music Hall

8:00 pm

  • Music Hall

2:00 pm

  • Music Hall

8:00 pm

  • Music Hall

6:30 pm

  • Music Hall

Director’s Cut Production Sponsors

Don Beck & Larry Eynon

John F. Steele, Sr.

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