The fabulous Jacob’s Pillow is coming up to its 80th birthday with strength and vitality to spare. It has been around long enough to claim the title of America’s longest-running international dance festival. It has championed and dancers of all schools going back to 1933 when modern dance was in its infancy and pioneer Ted Shawn bought the place as a retreat for his company of Men Dancers. That was a daring and radical move in its day, year 80 will harken back to that era, with an extraordinary program by the world’s leading men dancers. More about that in a moment.
Nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, “the Pillow” is acclaimed for its rich history, unique and beautiful location and atmosphere, and forward-thinking international programming of the highest quality. The international celebration of dance, music, the visual arts, and culture begins June 16 with the 80th Anniversary Season Opening Gala and continues through August 26.
The 80th Anniversary Season includes an impressive blend of world premieres, U.S. premieres, live music, company debuts, legendary dance companies, emerging choreographers, and more than 300 ticketed and free events, talks, performances, classes, exhibits, and tours hosted at the Pillow’s 163-acre National Historic Landmark site.
“The 80th Anniversary Season celebrates Jacob’s Pillow’s history-making contributions to dance over eight decades, beginning with early 20th century pioneers Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and the Men Dancers. This year’s Festival also affirms the Pillow’s steadfast commitment to new and important dance-makers and performers, as well as unique presentations that give artists and audiences opportunities to discover new things about dance.
There is no other place like Jacob’s Pillow; it is truly unique. It is a destination – a nexus for dance that generates inspiration and is enjoyed by people from all over the world as well as right down the road. We look forward to welcoming everyone to this year’s particularly special Festival.” – Ella Baff, Artistic Director
A Homage to Ted Shawn and men dancers everywhere
A weeklong homage to Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers will feature a 20-member cast of some of the greatest male dancers and choreographers of today including Lar Lubovitch, Jason Samuels Smith, Arthur Mitchell, David Neumann, Trent Kowalik, Cartier Williams, and Jock Soto, among many others.
Three Favorites Return
Three specially selected “Back by Popular Demand” productions will be discovered anew by audiences. Ella Baff comments, “I hope to encourage the public to consider more contemporary dance works as classics, to be revisited in the same way that we enjoy and deepen our appreciation for classic works of music, theatre, and the visual arts.”
This series includes Tero Saarinen’s powerful Shaker-inspired Borrowed Light, which premiered in the U.S. at the Pillow in 2006; 2011Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient Crystal Pite’s stunningly accomplished work Dark Matters; and Doug Elkins’ insightful and hilarious Fräulein Maria, first performed at the Pillow in 2009.
Aspiring dancers have long made the natural setting of the Pillow their summer training grounds. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, faculty includes an extraordinary range of master artists: Michael Corder formerly of the Royal Ballet; Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emerita, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Ariel Freedman of Batsheva Dance Company; Jose Manuel Carreño, recently retired from American Ballet Theatre; Cynthia Harvey, former star of The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre; tap legend Dianne Walker; and many others.
2012 Extends Beyond the Summer
While the Festival is a centerpiece of the 80th Anniversary Year, programming takes place year-round. Throughout the year, new additions are constantly contributed to Virtual Pillow, an ever-growing online collection including PillowTalks, educational resources, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, and contemporary and archival dance videos, which have amassed more than 800,000 views to date worldwide.
Artist residencies bring the innovative Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion® program to schools, using movement to advance and enhance classroom learning for students and teachers. Visiting scholars and fellows from around the world use the Jacob’s Pillow Archives as a vast and unique resource for significant dance research. Year-round Creative Development Residencies support artists as they create new work in the Pillow’s retreat-like setting; these new works often premiere at the Pillow.
On March 24 and 25, the Pillow and MASS MoCA will co-present Australian contemporary company Chunky Move in their newest production, Connected.
A signal Anniversary celebration includes the release of Never Stand Still, a feature-length documentary about dance, dancers, and Jacob’s Pillow by award-winning director Ron Honsa, narrated by Bill T. Jones. The film will make its New York City premiere at the 2012 Dance on Camera Festival on January 27. Additional screenings and release dates to be announced.
For the complete 2012 Schedule go to our Jacob’s Pillow 2012 Calendar Page (link)