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Bard SummerScape Opens With Two Leading Dance Companies on July 5 & 6: Doug Varone and Susan Marshall

New Works Created for the Fifth Annual SummerScape Festival
Mark Primoff
845-758-7412
primoff@bard.edu
05-24-2007

BARD SUMMERSCAPE WILL OPEN WITH TWO LEADING DANCE COMPANIES ON JULY 5 AND 6: DOUG VARONE AND SUSAN MARSHALL CREATE NEW WORKS FOR THE FIFTH ANNUAL SUMMERSCAPE FESTIVAL

NEW WORK BY DOUG VARONE, COMMISSIONED BY BARD'S FISHER CENTER AND SET TO MUSIC BY EDWARD ELGAR, LAUNCHES THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL – A CELEBRATION OF “ELGAR AND HIS WORLD ” – WITH PERFORMANCES ON JULY 5, 6, 7, & 8

SUSAN MARSHALL CHOREOGRAPHED HER NEW PIECE ESPECIALLY FOR THE SPIEGELTENT, BARD’S POPULAR ALTERNATIVE PERFORMING SPACE, FOR A PREMIERE ON JULY 6, WITH SEVEN ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES THROUGH JULY 15

[Varone’s dances are] irresistibly dancey . . . and convey depths of emotion through highly charged, physically exciting choreography, making him a rarity among his generation.–New York Times

Watching Marshall’s choreography [,]… I’ve been profoundly moved by the emotional resonance she coaxes from the simplest movements and patterns.–Village Voice

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Bard SummerScape 2007 opens on July 5 with a world premiere choreographed by Doug Varone and performed by Doug Varone and Dancers in the Sosnoff Theater, with additional performances on July 6, 7, and 8. The following night brings a second world premiere: a dance created by Susan Marshall expressly for Bard’s popular Spiegeltent, to be performed by Susan Marshall & Company on July 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, and 15.

Doug Varone has created a new work to music by Edward Elgar (1857–1934), the composer whose life and influence provide the focus for this year’s Bard SummerScape – a remarkable series of opera, drama, music, film, cabaret, and more, through August 19. Varone choreographs to classical music both old and new, while Marshall works primarily with living composers. Both dancer-choreographers are based in New York, and are among the most active and influential in their field today.

Doug Varone and Dancers

Doug Varone and his company have been based in New York for more than 20 years. Varone’s works have evocative titles, such as Possession, Rise, As Natural as Breathing, Of the Earth Far Below, and Castles. Aside from the emotional depth that pervades his narratives, his trademark is a close relationship with classical music. He has set dances to music ranging from a Handel cantata to George Antheil’s infamous Ballet mécanique and Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto; from Rachmaninoff and Arvo Pärt to jazz and pop standards played on a Hammond organ. At the Metropolitan Opera, Varone has created dances for Berlioz’s massive

Troyens in the 2003 Francesca Zambello production; a revival of Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps later that year; Salome with Karita Mattila in 2003–04; and the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy in 2005. His work in Les Troyens even resulted in a separate dance review in the New York Times, in addition to citations in the paper’s music review.

The New York Times has called Doug Varone “a prolific modern-dance humanist” and “a choreographer whose creations combine a sly wit with emotional warmth and an awareness of human frailty.”  Varone is a graduate of Purchase College’s renowned Conservatory of Dance, and worked in the companies of Lar Lubovitch and José Limón before starting his own company in 1986.

Doug Varone and Dancers’ website is http://www.dougvaroneanddancers.org.

Susan Marshall & Company

Susan Marshall and Company will also perform a world premiere at Bard SummerScape, debuting on July 6, with seven additional performances through July 15. The new work, commissioned by the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, will be performed in the round on a central stage surrounded by the beveled mirrored columns and ballooning canopies of Bard’s unique Belle Époque Spiegeltent.

In the new work, Marshall and her company take on the new challenge of dancing in the round. Like Cloudless – Marshall’s recent Bessie Award-winning dance - the newly-commissioned work will consist of a series of dances drawn from everyday life, in both its travails and serendipitous moments. In addition, Ms. Marshall will incorporate elements of burlesque, cabaret, and vaudeville, distilled into the distinctive language of human gesture for which she is justly known, in honor of both the Spiegeltent and Edward Elgar, who wrote popular music for music halls.

Marshall, who was a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2000, created her evening-long Cloudless to celebrate her company’s 20th anniversary in 2006, and the piece returned to New York for a two-week run earlier this year. Her website describes the Bessie Award-winning suite as a series of “short-form narratives,” although some of her older works – such as Arms (1984) and Kiss (1987) – are considerably shorter.

The New York Times described the brief elements that comprise Cloudless:

Vignettes, many dealing with intimacy and sexual power struggles, are both individual pieces and parts of a sweeping whole. Props and theater share time with abstract, yet telling, dance. As the title perhaps implies, Ms. Marshall gives a very clear view of complex, fraught relationships. Her eye extends to her dancers, who have all been well chosen. Whether strapped to a ladder, serving one another tea in highly unorthodox fashion or making minute movements count for a lot, dancers … grab attention and hold it, hard.

(1.26.07)

According to a recent review of Cloudless in The New Yorker, “In Susan Marshall’s work, the grizzled virtues of traditional modern dance – the bare feet, the weightiness, the sincerity – come out looking newborn.”

The website for Susan Marshall and Company is http://www.susanmarshallandcompany.org.

Dance at Bard

The Varone and Marshall commissions mark the third consecutive year that Bard has opened SummerScape with dance. In 2005 the Martha Graham Company performed the opening honors, and in 2006, the Donna Uchizono Company performed a new work commissioned – as this year – by Bard’s stunning Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. A front-page article in the New York Times’s Arts section stated that Uchizono’s opening-night dances, featuring guest artist Mikhail Baryshnikov, “led off Bard’s SummerScape in grand style.”

Opening Night of Bard SummerScape 2007

DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS

Thursday, July 5 at 8:00 pm

Sosnoff Theater

Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $20, $35, $50

Additional performances July 6 and 7 at 8 pm, and July 8 at 3 pm

Dance created especially for Bard’s Spiegeltent

SUSAN MARSHALL & COMPANY

Friday, July 6 at 8:30 pm

Spiegeltent

Tickets: $35

Additional performances on July 8, 12, 14, and 15 at 8:30 pm, and July 7, 8, and 14 at 3:30 pm

BARD SUMMERSCAPE – TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets go on sale on May 1. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, phone the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900 or visit www.fishercenter.bard.edu.

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This event was last updated on 07-17-2007