French Dance Troupe Compagnie fêtes galantes Launches Bard SummerScape 2012 on July 6

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French Baroque Modern Dance Troupe to Perform at Bard's Richard B. Fisher Center

“Compagnie fêtes galantes… was consistently riveting.”
– New York Times, 2011

The ninth annual Bard SummerScape festival opens on Friday, July 6 at 8pm, with the American premiere of Let My Joy Remain (“Que ma joie demeure”) by France’s Compagnie fêtes galantes. Described as “a show where joy dominates but dignity remains” (Figaro), Let My Joy Remain brings a contemporary edge to Baroque dance, juxtaposing the surpassingly elegant choreography of Béatrice Massin with the sublime music of Baroque master J.S. Bach. Along with two additional performances, on Saturday, July 7 at 8pm and Sunday, July 8 at 3 pm, the opening night will take place in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s stunning Hudson River campus.

As in previous seasons, SummerScape 2012 is keyed to the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year celebrates “Camille Saint-Saëns and His World.” Like the great French composer, Compagnie fêtes galantes combines Gallic refinement with a sincere engagement with the Baroque, being founded almost 20 years ago by revered choreographer and Baroque specialist Béatrice Massin. It was through her collaboration with pioneering dance historian Francine Lancelot at the Ris & Danceries company that Massin first developed her great love affair with Baroque dance. Yet despite her command of the genre, Massin’s works are not strict historical reconstructions. Rather, they seek to create links between Baroque gesture and contemporary choreography, suffusing the vocabulary of 17th- and 18th-century dance with a thoroughly modern sensibility.

Massin’s many commissions include the official opening of Paris’s Centre National de la Danse (2004), and musical partnerships include period performance specialists Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques, and William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, with whom fêtes galantes collaborated on the Merchant-Ivory motion picture Jefferson in Paris (1995) and at New York’s BAM last season, when the New York Times observed, “Compagnie fêtes galantes executed the plentiful choreography by Francine Lancelot and Béatrice Massin with an elegance that was consistently riveting.”

Now Compagnie fêtes galantes launches SummerScape 2012 with one of Massin’s most successful creations: Let My Joy Remain (2002), with which the company has already toured France, Belgium, Italy, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia, the dance proving “a hit wherever it goes” (Le Monde). As Massin explains, she was drawn to Baroque dance by the “movement, energy, and vitality” of the period’s music, and she describes Let My Joy Remain as “a dialogue of pleasure between music and dance.” Set to the timeless sounds of J.S. Bach, the complex architecture of its choreography reflects the unequaled intricacy and cohesion of his musical construction, as heard in excerpts from the Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 3, and 6, performed by Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and from Jesu, der du meine Seele, Cantata BWV78, recorded by Philippe Herreweghe and La Chapelle Royale.

Let My Joy Remain has inspired a wealth of positive press. The Bangkok Post praised “Massin’s restrained but masterfully intricate choreography”; Le Monde found the dance “light, sparkling, full of soft bubbles that are about to burst at any time,” while, according to Le Figaro, “the performers act with nobility and discipline, without showing themselves too formal or too staid. Bach’s music is lively and the various silent sequences have the exact same qualities. A show where joy dominates but dignity remains.” With inventive costume design by Dominique Fabrègue, the atmospheric lighting design of Rémis Nicolas, and Evelyne Rubert’s fine technical management, Let My Joy Remain will be presented at Bard in three performances (July 6–8).

A significant dance performance has opened SummerScape each year since 2005; last season Finland’s Tero Saarinen Company offered “a magic that is hypnotic” (Daily Gazette), and in 2010 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.”

Dance at Bard SummerScape 2012

Compagnie fêtes galantes
Que ma joie demeure (“Let My Joy Remain,” 2002)

Choreographer: Béatrice Massin

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 3, & 6
     (Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra / Ton Koopman)
J.S. Bach: “Wir eilen” (duo) from Cantata BWV78 (Jesu, der du meine Seele)
     (La Chapelle Royale / Philippe Herreweghe)
Diane Soubeyre, Bruno Benne, Sarah Berreby, David Berring, Laura Brembilla, Olivier
Collin, Laurent Crespon, Damien Dreux, Adeline Lerme, and Gudrun Skamletz
Lighting design: Rémis Nicolas
Costume design: Dominique Fabrègue
Costume design assistance: Laurence Alquier and Camille Hardy
Technical management: Evelyne Rubert

July 6* and 7† at 8 pm
July 8* at 3 pm
Sosnoff Theater
Tickets: $25, $40, $45, $55

  • Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for these performances. The round-trip fare is $30 and reservations are required.

† Round-trip shuttle between the MetroNorth train station in Poughkeepsie and Bard is available for this performance. The round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required.

Visit for more information.

SummerScape 2012: other key performance dates by genre

Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Saint-Saëns and His World: Paris and the Culture of Cosmopolitanism” (August 10–12)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Saint-Saëns and His World: Confronting Modernism” (August 17–19)

Round-trip coach transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available on August 10, 12, 17, and 19, for particular Sosnoff Theater performances. Round-trip shuttle transportation between the MetroNorth train station in Poughkeepsie and Bard is also available for some of the performances. A fare will be charged and reservations are required for coach and shuttle transportation. Check the website for schedules and details.

Emmanuel Chabrier: The King in Spite of Himself †
Sosnoff Theater
July 27* and August 3 at 7 p.m.
July 29* and August 1 and 5* at 3 p.m.

Tickets: $30, $60, $70, $90

Molière: The Imaginary Invalid
Theater Two
July 13*, 14+, 19, 20, and 21† at 8 p.m.
July 14, 15*, 18, 21, and 22* at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $45

  • Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for this performance. The round-trip fare is $30 and reservations are required.

† Round-trip shuttle between the MetroNorth train station in Poughkeepsie and Bard is available for this performance. The round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required. Shuttle service is available for all performances of the opera.
+SummerScape Gala Benefit dinner and post-performance party.

“France and the Colonial Imagination”
Thursdays and Sundays, July 12 – August 12 at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Ottaway Film Center
Tickets: $8

Cabaret, Family Fare, and SpiegelClub
Cabaret $25; Family Fare $15 ($5 for child under 18); SpiegelClub $5

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

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Mark Primoff
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