(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – New York City Ballet MOVES kicks off the 2017 Bard SummerScape Festival on Friday, June 30 – Sunday, July 2, ushering in seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret. For its first SummerScape engagement, MOVES presents a triple bill of works by Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, and Justin Peck.
MOVES is a rotating selection of NYCB principal dancers, soloists, members of the corps de ballet, and musicians under the leadership of NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins. The SummerScape program traces the NYCB’s outstanding choreographic lineage to the accompaniment of live music.
The program includes Dances at a Gathering (1969) by famed NYCB co-founding choreographer Jerome Robbins, set to piano works by Chopin, subject of the 2017 Bard Music Festival; Duo Concertant (1972), by legendary NYCB co-founder George Balanchine, set to Stravinsky’s neoclassical violin and piano duet of that name; and In Creases (2012), the first creation for NYCB by its resident choreographer and soloist Justin Peck, set to music for two pianos by minimalist master Philip Glass.
Staged in four performances between June 30 and July 2, the program takes place in the Sosnoff Theater in the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard College’s Hudson River campus.
The SummerScape engagement features principal dancers Jared Angle, Joaquin De Luz, Megan Fairchild, Chase Finlay, Sterling Hyltin, Rebecca Krohn, Lauren Lovette, Sara Mearns, and Taylor Stanley; soloists Sara Adams, Zachary Catazaro, Joseph Gordon, Brittany Pollack, and Indiana Woodward; and corps de ballet dancers Devin Alberda, Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Aaron Sanz, Kristen Segin, and Lydia Wellington.
Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering (1969), set to music by Chopin
As in previous seasons, SummerScape 2017 takes its inspiration from the Bard Music Festival, which this year celebrates “Fryderyk Chopin and His World.” No choreographer is more closely associated with the Polish composer than five-time Tony Award-winner and two-time Academy Award-winner Jerome Robbins, who set four major ballets to his music. The second of these is Dances at a Gathering, a work for five couples accompanied by 18 of Chopin’s beloved mazurkas, waltzes, and études for piano. This became an instant classic, and is still recognized as “a multilayered masterpiece of theater” (New York Times) today. As Robbins himself explained:
“The ballet stays and exists in the time of the music and its work. Nothing is out of it, I believe; all gestures and moods, steps, etc. are part of the fabric of the music’s time and its meaning to me.”
George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant (1972), with music by Stravinsky
Music, and indeed the piano, play an equally integral part in Duo Concertant by George Balanchine. Widely recognized as the father of American ballet, it was he who he co-founded the New York City Ballet and served as its artistic leader for more than 35 years, personally collaborating with Stravinsky many times over the course of their long careers. He first heard the great Russian composer’s neoclassical violin and piano duet shortly after its 1932 premiere, in a performance by its dedicatee, violinist Samuel Dushkin, with Stravinsky himself at the keyboard. Nonetheless, it was only many decades later that Balanchine created, as a posthumous tribute for the NYCB’s 1972 Stravinsky Festival, the duet that went on to become one of the company’s most treasured mainstays.
Justin Peck’s In Creases (2012), with music by Philip Glass
Only the second person in history to hold the position of NYCB resident choreographer, Justin Peck has been called “the ballet world’s next big thing” (CBS News). His first creation for the company, In Creases, is set to the first and third movements of Four Movements for Two Pianos by minimalist master Philip Glass. When it premiered at the NYCB’s summer home in Saratoga Springs, Peck’s ballet made an immediate impact, prompting the New York Times to declare:
“This is choreography whose forms immediately seize attention. There’s no moment, as so often occurs with young ballet choreographers, when we spot Mr. Peck’s sources. Doubtless he’s steeped in Balanchine, Robbins and others, but he isn’t wearing them on his sleeve. … [In Creases is] a dreamscape that heightens the progress and colors of its score. And its sureness of construction is striking.”
At the heart of these offerings is the 28th Bard Music Festival, which explores “Chopin and His World” through twelve chamber, orchestral, choral, and operatic programs – two of which feature the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein – supplemented by panel discussions and special events (August 11–13; August 18–20).
Other SummerScape highlights include a rare, fully staged production of Antonín Dvo?ák’s grand opera Dimitrij, from award-winning director Anne Bogart (July 28–August 6); the world premiere of A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), an homage to Polish artist and director Tadeusz Kantor by The Wooster Group (July 13–23); the SummerScape debut of New York City Ballet MOVES, with a program featuring Jerome Robbins’s Chopin-set Dances at a Gathering and In Creases by rising star Justin Peck (June 30–July 2); a film series exploring “Chopin and the Image of Romanticism” (July 27–August 20); and cutting-edge cabaret, live jazz, dancing and more in Bard’s authentic Belgian Spiegeltent (June 30–August 19). All SummerScape offerings take place in the striking Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s idyllic Hudson River campus.