Press Room

Bard SummerScape Opens this Thursday with Tero Saarinen Company

The Tero Saarinen Company kicks off the ninth annual Bard SummerScape festival this week on Thursday, July 7 at 8 pm, with a triple bill of the Finnish choreographer’s finest dances – Westward Ho! (1996), Wavelengths (2000), and HUNT (2002); as the Globe and Mail (Toronto) explains, “The evening is more than three wonderfully provocative dance pieces. … The build, from one dance to the next in terms of mood and impact, is architectural perfection.”  This performance and the company’s three subsequent SummerScape appearances (on Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9, both also at 8 pm, and on Sunday, July 10 at 3 pm) will take place in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s bucolic Hudson River campus.  This season’s SummerScape Gala Benefit precedes the July 9 performance.
A significant dance performance has opened SummerScape each year since 2005; last season’s offering from the Trisha Brown Dance Company prompted the Star-Ledger to comment: “If any dance event is worth a quick run out of town, it’s this one.”  As in previous seasons, SummerScape 2011 is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year celebrates “Jean Sibelius and His World.”  Like the great symphonist, Tero Saarinen Company is one of Finland’s leading cultural exports.  The “outstanding contemporary dance troupe” (Globe and Mail) has appeared in nearly 40 countries, and Saarinen’s daring and innovative choreography, whose influences range from Japanese butoh and martial arts to classical ballet and Western contemporary dance, has been incorporated into the repertoire of such prominent dance groups as Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), the Batsheva Dance Company, Lyon Opéra Ballet, and the Finnish National Ballet.
Dancer/choreographer Tero Saarinen’s contribution to the art form has been recognized with the Pro Finlandia medal (2005), the most prestigious recognition given to artists in Finland; the International Movimentos Dance Prize for Best Male Performer in Germany (2004); and the title of “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (2004) by the French Ministry of Culture.  Dance magazine stresses the “distinctive, original, and kinetic signature” of his work, while a New York Times review of his most recent New York appearance, at the 2010 Fall for Dance festival, describes Saarinen as “an extraordinarily compelling stage presence.”
Tero Saarinen Company launches SummerScape 2011 with Triple Bill, three works that plumb themes of friendship, love, and death.  When the company performed Triple Bill at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2006, the New York Times’s John Rockwell marveled: “The whole thing was quite extraordinary… .  It made one…fervently hope [Saarinen] makes it back to New York sooner than another eight years.”
Westward Ho! (1996), the first of Saarinen’s creations for his company, functions today as the group’s calling card.  A quietly humorous, lightly melancholy portrayal of friendships marred by selfishness and betrayal, it presents three male dancers engaged in a stoic struggle.  As the Village Voice explains, “every time the men interject a sharp movement, or one breaks away, or two touch, it’s a major event.  The piece has an almost faultless dance logic.”
The impassioned duet Wavelengths (2000) depicts two strong personalities trying to avoid monotony within their long-term relationship.  This theme serves also as a metaphor for Saarinen’s creative process; in its organic movements, the piece seeks to reinvent the traditional pas de deux to express the dynamics of contemporary, equal partnerships.  The New York Times deemed it “a fascinating duet of attraction, aggression, and affection between a man and a woman,” finding its choreography “constantly alive and original.”
Triple Bill closes with Saarinen’s own signature solo, HUNT (2002), a multimedia masterpiece set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that investigates the concept of sacrifice.  The New York Times judged it “impressive,” selecting the piece for its 2006 “Ten Best List,” while the Toronto Star pronounced the work “truly a tour de force.”
SummerScape 2011’s opening weekend also features the season’s first presentation of evening cabaret in Bard’s authentic, one-of-a-kind Belgian “tent of mirrors,” or Spiegeltent.  New York City-based performance artist, cabaret singer, and drag artist Joey Arias “channeled Billie Holiday with eerie precision at defunct places like Bar d’O before hitting it big” (New York Times).  Having recorded several albums, hung out with Andy Warhol, toured with Madonna, and sung with David Bowie, the performance-art virtuoso knows how to enthrall an audience; as Edge New York put it, “Before Gaga, there was Joey.”  (Friday, July 8 at 8:30 pm)
Dance at Bard SummerScape 2011
Tero Saarinen Company: Triple Bill
Choreography by Tero Saarinen
Westward Ho! (1996)
Trio for male dancers
Music: Gavin Bryars (b.1943) and Moondog (1916-99)
Lighting design: Mikki Kunttu
Costume design: Tero Saarinen
Wavelengths (2000)
Duet for male and female dancers
Music: Riku Niemi
Lighting design: Mikki Kunttu
Costume design: Erika Turunen
HUNT (2002)
Solo for male dancer
Music: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring
Multimedia: Marita Liulia
Lighting design: Mikki Kunttu
Costume design: Erika Turunen
July 7*, 8, and 9*+ at 8 pm
July 10 at 3 pm
Sosnoff Theater
Tickets: $25, $40, $45, $55
+ SummerScape Gala Benefit
* Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for these performances. Fare is $25.  Reservations are required.  Visit for more information and reservations.
Shuttles to and from the Poughkeepsie and Rhinecliff train stations are now available for certain matinée performances.  Reservations are required.  Visit for more information and reservations.
Chronological list of SummerScape 2011 highlights
July 7–10   SummerScape opens with Tero Saarinen Company
July 9   Gala benefit before performance by Tero Saarinen Company
July 13–24   Ten performances of Henrik Ibsen’s drama The Wild Duck
July 14–Aug 18   Film Festival “Before and After Bergman: The Best of Nordic Film” (16 films)”
July 29–Aug 7   Five performances of Richard Strauss’s opera Die Liebe der Danae
August 3–14   Nine performances of Noël Coward’s operetta Bitter Sweet
August 12   Annual Bard Music Festival opening-night dinner in the Spiegeltent
August 12–14   Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Sibelius and His World: Imagining Finland”
August 19–21      Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Sibelius and His World: Sibelius – Conservative or Modernist?”
Bard SummerScape Ticket Information
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.
For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit
Bard SummerScape:
Bard Music Festival:
Tickets: [email protected]; or by phone at 845-758-7900
Updates: Bard’s “e-members” get all the news in regular updates.  Click here to sign up.
All program information is subject to change.



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