We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” is so much easier heard than seen. The landmark piece of music, with its blaring horns, eerie winds, and heart-thumping timpani, turned 100 in 2013, and orchestras around the world have been performing it to celebrate. Too easily forgotten in austere concert halls is the ballet for which the music was commissioned: a reimagining of an ancient pagan sacrifice on the Russian steppes, as performed by those early 20th-century rogues, the Ballets Russes. Many choreographers—from international stars like Maurice Béjart to locals like Lucy Bowen McCauley—have since used the music to create “Rites” of their own, while the original was presumed forgotten. But in 1987, the art and dance historians Kenneth Archer and Millicent Hodson teamed up to reconstruct Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography and Nicholas Roerich’s costumes based on backstage photos, notes from scores, eyewitness accounts, and disparaging reviews. At the Kennedy Center this week, Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet will perform its reconstruction along with two other works debuted by the Ballets Russes: “The Swan” and “The Spectre of the Rose.” Some argue that none of these works retain their shattering impact, but after seeing these ballets, you’ll better understand every dance that followed. The Mariinsky Ballet performs Jan. 27 to Feb. 1 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $30–$165. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.