(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Bard SummerScape festival kicks off on Saturday, July 6 at 8pm, with A Rite, a major new dance-theater piece by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and SITI Company. Co-commissioned by SummerScape and created by Bill T. Jones and Anne Bogart, two titans of American performing arts, A Rite commemorates the centenary of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring and its notorious, game-changing Paris premiere.
Both A Rite’s opening night and a second performance on Sunday, July 7 at 3pm will take place in Bard College’s Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
As in previous seasons, SummerScape 2013 is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year explores “Igor Stravinsky and His World.” Arguably the most important composer of the 20th century, Stravinsky (1882–1971) first achieved international fame with the three ballet scores he composed for impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). At its now infamous Paris premiere, The Rite of Spring’s revolutionary sound and demonic paganism, as showcased by Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography, provoked a near riot. This extraordinary response foreshadowed the seismic impact the ballet would have on the course of music and dance; even today, a full hundred years after its first performance, the aftershocks still reverberate.
SummerScape’s timely new dance-theater piece brings together two key American directors: Bill T. Jones, “one of the most prominent and provocative American choreographers of his generation” (New York Times), and contemporary theater director Anne Bogart, a 1974 Bard alumna.