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Bard SummerScape 2009 Opens on July 9
With Dance – Lucinda Childs's Seminal Collaboration
With Philip Glass and Sol LeWitt

Mark Primoff

Bard SummerScape 2009 Opens on July 9
With Dance – Lucinda Childs’s Seminal Collaboration
With Philip Glass and Sol LeWitt

“Childs’s work is about love of dance … Dance for Childs is the art of euphoria.”
Susan Sontag

“My dances are an intense experience, of intense looking and listening.” Lucinda Childs

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. – The seventh annual Bard SummerScape festival opens on Thursday, July 9, at 8 pm with Lucinda Childs’s Dance, a landmark work by the leading luminary of the postmodern dance movement. Dating from 1979, during one of the New York art world’s most vibrant and prolific periods, Dance is Childs’s legendary collaboration with composer Philip Glass and artist Sol LeWitt. Thanks to Bard’s re-commissioning of Dance, LeWitt’s film has been newly restored for the festival. Performances will take place in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River campus. Three additional performances are on July 10 and 11, also at 8 pm, and on Sunday, July 12 at 3 pm. The July 11 performance is a Gala Benefit for SummerScape.


According to the New York Times, “Ms. Childs is revered across Europe as a grande dame of American dance. In the United States, though, her work is so rarely seen that she has assumed almost mythical status.” Bard is presenting an overdue heroine’s welcome for Childs this summer.


Philip Glass’s music for Dance is the soundtrack of Sol LeWitt’s black-and-white film, which is projected onto a translucent scrim in front of the stage. “I find the music of Philip Glass deeply spiritual,” Childs said in Patrick Bensard’s 2006 documentary, Lucinda Childs. “Afterwards,” Childs added, “you feel as though you’ve been taken on a voyage.” For the SummerScape 2009 production of Dance, the negative of LeWitt’s 30-year-old film has been painstakingly transferred to digital format. Michael Reisman, the music director of the Philip Glass Ensemble, remastered the original soundtrack for this restoration of the film. Reisman was the sole pianist on the recording of the soundtrack for the Academy-Award nominated score for the film The Hours, as well as many other film scores composed by Glass.


At Bard, a new company of nine dancers under Childs’s direction will interact seamlessly on stage with her filmed 1979 company. Their synchronized movements create a multidimensional effect: whirling, twirling bodies on different planes and spaces. Childs is mesmerizing in her filmed solo centerpiece, her austere beauty frozen in time. “Together,” wrote Jennifer Dunning in the New York Times, “the elements of live theater and film create the kind of instantaneous layering of time that is usually the magical province of film alone.”


In 1981, Alan M. Kriegsman reviewed Dance for the Washington Post. “A few times, at most, in the course of a decade a work of art comes along that makes a genuine breakthrough, defining for us new modes of perception and feeling and clearly belonging as much to the future as to the present. Such a work is Dance.


The Fisher Center commissioned the reconstruction of Dance, with additional support from The Yard, a colony for performing artists on Martha’s Vineyard. Dance is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts/American Masterpieces: Dance Initiative, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts. Additional support for Dance has been provided by the Jerome Robbins Foundation.


About Lucinda Childs

Lucinda Childs has been described as “at once choreographer, storyteller, and dancer – undeniably beautiful, composed, mesmerizing” (Le Nouvel Observateur). Writer Susan Sontag once said, “Childs’s work is about love of dance. So much of contemporary dance shows contempt for dance. Dance for Childs is the art of euphoria… . Childs’s work assumes that dancing is a noble art.”

As one of America’s leading modern dance choreographers, Lucinda Childs makes work that is often described as conceptual dance. Dance critic Anna Kisselgoff has written that “structure, repetition, permutation, and patterns” work their cumulative effect in Childs’s choreography. Kisselgoff has also noted that while Childs works within a minimalist style, her content is not minimalist

Born in New York City in 1940, Lucinda Childs’s dance path was illuminated by a class she took at Sarah Lawrence College from guest teacher Merce Cunningham. After graduation in 1962, she continued to study at the Cunningham Studio, and then became an original member of the influential and avant-garde Judson Dance Theater. Childs has revived Dance for numerous opera houses and dance companies all over the world, and has also choreographed for John Adams (The Chairman Dances, Doctor Atomic), Henryk Górecki, Philip Glass (Einstein on the Beach), and other noted composers. Named a Commander in France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and a recipient of the NEA/NEFA American Masterpiece Award, Childs received a Guggenheim Fellowship the year she created Dance.


Related events

·                 Film documentary and post-screening Q&A with Lucinda Childs: Friday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Time & Space Limited in Hudson, NY. Screening of Patrick Bensard’s 2006 documentary, Lucinda Childs. Additional screenings will take place on June 18, 20, and 21 For information, visit


  • Film documentary and post-screening Q&A with Lucinda Childs: Saturday, June 13 at Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock, NY. Screening of Patrick Bensard’s 2006 documentary, Lucinda Childs. For information, visit


·                 Sol LeWitt retrospective at MASS MoCA: Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007.  This ongoing retrospective is a collaboration between Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art, and is scheduled to run for 25 years. For information, visit


·                 Whitney Museum of American Art: A Dance, an exhibition featuring Sol LeWitt’s drawings and diagrams from his collaboration with Lucinda Childs, prints by Lucinda Childs, and other related material from Dance, will be at the Whitney Museum from June 15 until September, alongside the Whitney’s retrospective exhibition of the influential contemporary artist Dan Graham. In 1973 the Lucinda Childs Dance Company premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art.



Dance at Bard SummerScape since 2005

For the last four seasons, SummerScape has opened with a dance newly commissioned by Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008 Mark Morris choreographed the world premiere of the original version of Sergey Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare. In 2007 the companies of Doug Varone and Susan Marshall were commissioned with separate works to open the festival, and in 2006 the Donna Uchizono Company performed. The Martha Graham Company had the opening honors in 2005 (the first SummerScape season to include dance in its wide range of presentations), performing three of the great Graham’s timeless creations.

Bard SummerScape 2009 Highlights

July 9 – August 23:      Seven weeks of dance, opera, drama, music, film, cabaret, and other events on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River Valley campus


July 9                           SummerScape opens with Lucinda Childs’s Dance, to music by

Philip Glass (through July 12)

July 11                         Gala Benefit before and after performance of Lucinda Childs’s Dance

July 15 – August 2       Seven complete performances of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, translated by Ted Hughes.

July 16 – August 20     Film Festival: “Politics, Theater, and Wagner” (ten films)

July 31                         First of four performances of Meyerbeer’s opera Les Huguenots

                                    (through August 7)

August 9                      Special single performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio St. Paul

August 14                    Annual Bard Music Festival Opening Night Dinner in the Spiegeltent

August 14-16               Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Wagner and His World”

August 21-23               Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Wagner and His World”



Critical Acclaim for Bard SummerScape

London’s Times Literary Supplement lauded SummerScape as “The most intellectually ambitious of America’s summer music festivals.” The New Yorker called it “one of the major upstate festivals”; Travel and Leisure reported, “[At] Bard SummerScape … Gehry’s acclaimed concert hall provides a spectacular venue for innovative fare”; Newsday called SummerScape “brave and brainy”; and the New York Sun observed, “Bard’s [SummerScape] … offers one of the best lineups of the summer for fans of any arts discipline.”



Bard SummerScape 2009:


Choreography by Lucinda Childs

Music by Philip Glass

Film by Sol LeWitt

Original costumes by A. Christina Giannini

Lighting by Beverly Emmons

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (Sosnoff Theater)


Thursday, July 9, at 8 pm (SummerScape 2009 opening night)

Friday, July 10, at 8 pm*

Saturday, July 11, at 8 pm+ (Gala Benefit)

Sunday, July 12, at 3 pm


Tickets: $25, $40, $55


* Round-trip transportation by coach from Columbus Circle to the Fisher Center will be provided for this performance. Reservations are required.


+ 2009 SummerScape Gala Benefit. Call (845) 758-7926 for tickets or more information.


For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900 or visit


All program information is subject to change.


The Bard SummerScape Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Advisory Boards of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and the Bard Music Festival, and the Friends of the Fisher Center.


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This event was last updated on 08-26-2009