Surfer At The River Styx

Surfer At The River Styx
World premiere date
Premiere location place
Durham, NC
Commissioner

The American Dance Festival and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through the Doris Duke Millenium Awards for Modern Dance and Jazz Music Collaborations, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Total number of dancers
6
Runtime
00:28:00
Other program information

Dedicated to the memory of Peggy Evarts Knaack.

Stage Manager:  Paul Bartlett
Company Manager:  Diane Daubert
Assistant to Donald Knaack:  Frank Knaack
Assistant to Scott Zielinski:  Juliet Chia
Assistant to Twyla Tharp:  Laila Sales

From the original program: "The Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation thanks Jeff & Patsy Tarr, Charles & Stephanie Reinhart, Santo Loquasto, David Kahne, Scott Zielinski, Burr & Burton Academy, Mark Springer/Quad Recording Studios NYC.

Ashley Tuttle appearing courtesy of American Ballet Theatre, Andrew Asnes and Francie Huber appearing courtesy of the Paul Taylor Dance Company."

Tharp re-formed a company after completing work on two large ballets, The Beethoven Seventh and The Brahms-Haydn Variations. One of the first works created for this group was Surfer At The River Styx.

The dance references elements of Euripides’ play The Bacchae, wherein the god Dionysus challenges the hubris of King Pentheus, a mortal. The two lead men, backed by a chorus of four dancers, compete in escalating displays of virtuosity. Bright footlights cast the men’s enormous shadows on the back wall as they outdo one another. 

When the king is bested by the god, order is restored and the two men are reunified with the chorus. In a long, sustained lift, a woman is elevated in a stream of light high above the stage, a final image of transcendence. 

  • Surfer at the River Styx
    Parkinson, Selya and Bowman in performance. ©Bruce R. Feeley
  • Surfer at the River Styx
    Bowman, Asnes and Selya perform. ©Bruce R. Feeley  
  • Surfer at the River Styx
    Parkinson, Roberts and Huber in performance. ©Bruce R. Feeley
Video Description

Company dancers during dress rehearsal.

Full music program

Original Music by Donald Knaack
Coda Composer:  David Kahne
Sound Design and Production:  David Kahne

Music details
Music track
webmusic-surfer.mp3
Push Comes To Shove - Surfer At The River Styx - Nine Sinatra Songs | Washington Ballet
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Surfer At The River Styx | Company C Contemporary Ballet
Lesher Center for the Arts
Walnut Creek, CA
Surfer At The River Styx | Company C Contemporary Ballet
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
San Francisco, CA
Surfer At The River Styx | Company C Contemporary Ballet
Lesher Center for the Arts
Walnut Creek, CA
Surfer At The River Styx | Company C Contemporary Ballet
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
San Francisco, CA
Surfer At The River Styx | Company C Contemporary Ballet
Spreckels Performing Arts Center
Rohnert Park, CA
Junk Duet - The Fugue - Westerly Round - Surfer At The River Styx |Twyla Tharp Dance
McCarter Theatre Center
Princeton, NJ
Junk Duet - The Fugue - Westerly Round - Surfer At The River Styx |Twyla Tharp Dance
Joyce Theater
New York, NY
Junk Duet - The Fugue - Westerly Round - Surfer At The River Styx |Twyla Tharp Dance
Sadler's Wells
London, United Kingdom
Westerly Round - Even the King - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Duke University, Page Auditorium
Durham, NC
Junk Duet - The Fugue - Westerly Round - Surfer At The River Styx |Twyla Tharp Dance
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Becket, MA
Westerly Round - Even the King - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
James W. Miller Auditorium
Kalamazoo, MI
Westerly Round - Even the King - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
The Egg
Albany, NY
Westerly Round - Even the King - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Jones Hall
Houston, TX
Westerly Round - Even the King (premiere) - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, AZ
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Wexner Center for the Arts
Columbus, OH
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Ahmanson Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Joyce Theater
New York, NY
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, NJ
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 - Surfer At The River Styx | Twyla Tharp Dance
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Mozart Clarinet Quintet K.581 (premiere) - Surfer At The River Styx (premiere) | Twyla Tharp Dance
Duke University, Page Auditorium
Durham, NC