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Trisha Brown Dance Company Launches Bard SummerScape 2014 with Proscenium Works: 1979–2011 on June 27

“Works by Brown don’t just challenge our perceptions; they expand our minds and untether our spirits.” – Village Voice

Eleanor Davis

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. —The 2014 annual Bard SummerScape festival opens in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York on Friday, June 27 at 7:30pm, with the first of three performances of Proscenium Works: 1979–2011 by the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Now making its farewell tour, these will be some of the esteemed ensemble’s final performances in the New York region. The program features the final creation of MacArthur Fellow Trisha Brown, alongside revivals of two of her most beloved large-scale stage works, made in collaboration with Laurie Anderson and Robert Rauschenberg. Along with two additional performances on Saturday, June 28, at 2pm and 7:30pm, the opening night takes place in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River campus. As the Star-Ledger declared, after the Trisha Brown Dance Company launched SummerScape in 2010, “If any dance event is worth a quick run out of town, it’s this one.

Since helping to found the avant-garde Judson Dance Theater movement in the 1960s, Brown has consistently expanded 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 Dance Magazine put it, “When it comes to postmodern choreography, Trisha Brown is royalty.” SummerScape offers one of the final opportunities to see her company perform these acclaimed works for the proscenium stage. 

The Trisha Brown Dance Company, which the choreographer formed in SoHo in 1970, soon became one of the nation’s foremost contemporary dance ensembles. Indeed, more than four decades on, the company continues to command heartfelt respect; John Rockwell writes: “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” (New York Times).

Proscenium Works 1979–2011 offers a retrospective of the Trisha Brown Dance Company through important examples of Brown’s choreography for the proscenium stage: I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours (2011), the final work of her career, with Set and Reset (1983), and If you couldn’t see me (1994), both featuring designs by Robert Rauschenberg and respectively set to music by Laurie Anderson and Rauschenberg.

Now more than 30 years old, Set and Reset (1983) offers the combination of seductively fluid movement with geometric style that is the hallmark of Brown’s work. Set to a driving score – Laurie Anderson’s “Long Time, No See” – her relaxed, playful choreography is offset by Robert Rauschenberg’s translucent costumes and black-and-white-themed set design. The Cleveland Plain Dealer called the results “mesmerizing to behold,” and the New York Times observed: “Set and Reset is unmistakably Miss Brown at her most tantalizing. Her virtuosic dancers exhibit a quality of movement that is distinctly hers – dartingly quick but so fluid that the body seems a conduit for flowing energy.

If you couldn’t see me (1994) is Brown’s solo collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg, whose costume design and sound score contribute to the work’s seductive beauty. The soloist dances with her back to the audience and, unable to show her face, must rely on the suppleness of her torso and limbs for expression. It was the choreographer herself who originally danced the work, prompting Dance Magazine to describe it as “a solitary quest, with Brown facing a deep upstage void and relying on her own fine-tuned dancing wits.”

The program closes with I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours (2011), in which Brown’s choreography is complemented by Burt Barr’s set, which features eight industrial-size fans. These blow throughout the work, wafting and gradually stripping away the dancers’ costumes, and filtering the original music by Alvin Curran. The UK’s Guardian admired the piece’s “serene, sometimes elegiac beauty,” while the New York Times pronounced it “entirely absorbing,” explaining: “The transience of this work is its beauty. Here today, gone tomorrow.

* * * * *

SummerScape has opened with significant dance performances each summer since 2005. On seeing A Rite (2013), a new dance-theater piece from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and SITI Company, co-commissioned by SummerScape to celebrate the centenary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring last season, Deborah Jowitt marveled: “Like many immersed in dance, I’ve seen a number of works set to Stravinsky’s score. … This is the first new one to pull me into the music and its history in so many unexpected and provocative ways” (ArtsJournal).

Dance at Bard SummerScape 2014

Trisha Brown Dance Company

Proscenium Works: 1979–2011


Set and Reset (1983)

Choreography by Trisha Brown

Music by Laurie Anderson (“Long Time No See”)

Set and costume design by Robert Rauschenberg

Lighting design by Robert Rauschenberg with Beverly Emmons


If you couldn’t see me (1994)

Choreography by Trisha Brown

Music by Robert Rauschenberg

Set and costume design by Robert Rauschenberg

Lighting design by Robert Rauschenberg with Spencer Brown

I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours (2011)

Choreography by Trisha Brown

Music by Alvin Curran, SAIE

Set design by Burt Barr

Costume design by Kaye Voyce

Lighting design by John Torres


Sosnoff Theater

Friday, June 27 at 7:30pm (followed by a discussion with the artists)

Saturday, June 28 at 2pm* (with pre-performance conversation at 1pm)

Saturday, June 28 at 7:30pm

Tickets: $25–$60 

* Round-trip bus service from Manhattan is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the matinee on Saturday, June 28. A reservation is required, and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900 or by selecting this option when purchasing tickets. The new, lower round-trip fare is $20, and the bus departs from Lincoln Center at 10:30am. Visit for more information.

SummerScape 2014: other key performance dates by genre


Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “The Making of a Romantic Legend” (Aug 8–10)

Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “A New Aesthetics of Music” (Aug 15–17)

* Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for certain performances on August 8, 10, 15, and 17. The round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required; see further details below.


Carl Maria von Weber: Euryanthe

Sosnoff Theater

July 25* and Aug 1 at 7 pm

July 27, 30, and Aug 3 at 2 pm

Tickets start at $25

Franz Schubert: Die Verschworenen

Franz von Suppé: Franz Schubert (1864)

Sosnoff Theater

Aug 10 at 5:30 pm (BMF Program 6)

Tickets start at $25


Franz Schubert: Fierrabras

Sosnoff Theater

Aug 17 at 4:30 pm (BMF Program 12)

Tickets start at $25



John Banville: Love in the Wars – A version of Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea

LUMA Theater

Previews July 10 and 11 at 7:30pm

Performances July 12*, 17, 18, and 19 at 7:30 pm and July 13*, 16, 19, and 20* at 2 pm

Tickets start at $25



“Schubert and the Long 19th Century”

Thursdays and Sundays July 3 to August 3 at 7pm

Ottaway Film Center

Tickets: $10


Live Music, Cabaret, Festival Dining, and After Hours salon

Dates, Times, and Prices vary


SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall. The Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

New York City Round-Trip Bus Transportation:

To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Street. Bus departure time will be included on the ticket order receipt, or visit

Bard SummerScape Ticket Information

For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.

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May 5, 2014


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This event was last updated on 05-05-2014