The Trisha Brown Dance Company kicks off the eighth annual Bard SummerScape festival this week with the trailblazing choreographer’s most recent piece – L’Amour au théâtre (2009), two of her legendary Rauschenberg collaborations – Foray Forêt (1990) and You can see us (1995), and a duet from her 1996 piece, Twelve Ton Rose, which is set to music by Anton Webern. The performances at the Bard SummerScape festival form a highlight of the company’s 40th anniversary season.
As in previous years, SummerScape 2010 is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year celebrates “Berg and His World.” Like the great Austrian composer, Trisha Brown is a pioneer of her art; where Berg is one of musical modernism’s founding fathers, she has long been recognized as “the innovative high priestess of postmodernist dance” (Jennifer Dunning, New York Times). Since helping to found the avant-garde Judson Dance Theater movement in the 1960s, Brown has consistently shattered perceptions of what dance can be. She was awarded a coveted MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1991, becoming the first female choreographer to be so honored.
As one of the Judson Dance Theater movement’s original members, Brown contributed to the birth of postmodern dance, while the Trisha Brown Dance Company, which she formed in SoHo in 1970, soon became one of the nation’s foremost contemporary dance ensembles. Indeed, four decades later, the company continues to command heartfelt respect; New York Times’s Alastair Macauley recently deemed this dance company “invariably sensuous, characterized by inventive wit, and often uncommonly interesting,” while critical juggernaut John Rockwell wrote: “Her current company is wonderful: handsome dancers confident in their execution of Ms. Brown’s choreography. They’re a pleasure to watch, all by themselves. But they’re not by themselves; Ms. Brown’s ideas and sensibility are ever present.”
Trisha Brown’s work with artists in other genres – including visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, who designed costumes and sets, and wrote music for her pieces – has resulted in some of the most compelling performances of the postmodern era. Following celebrated opera productions in Brussels, London, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, and New York City, the visionary experimentalist brings a program to SummerScape that includes her recent composition L’Amour au theater, which for the New York Post’s Leigh Witchel represents an arrival point in Brown’s career; he concluded that, “From the calligraphic elegance of the backdrop (designed by the choreographer herself), to the clean and buoyant choreography, Brown has transformed herself from a downtown artist to a big-ticket presence.”
For tickets and more information about the Bard SummerScape festival call the box office at 845-758-7900, or go to fishercenter.bard.edu.