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Rhythm

In 1913, the novelist Carl van Vechten attended the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's revolutionary new ballet, Le Sacre du Printemps.

"I was sitting in a box in which I had rented one seat," van Vechten recalled. "Three ladies sat in front of me and a young man occupied the place behind me. The intense excitement under which he was laboring, thanks to the potent force of the music, betrayed itself presently when he began to beat rhythmically on the top of my head with his fists.

"My emotion was so great that I did not feel the blows for some time; they were perfectly synchronized with the beat of the music. When I did, I turned around. His apology was sincere. We had both been carried beyond ourselves."

[The performance caused a riot: "I remember Mlle. Pilz executing her strange dance of religious hysteria on a stage dimmed by the blazing light in the auditorium, seemingly to the accompaniment of the ravings of an angry mob."]

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