Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Announces 2013 Season


Following the 80th Anniversary Season's record-breaking attendance, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival announces the 2013 Festival schedule today. Jacob's Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, home to America's longest-running dance festival, and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

The 81st Festival season will feature more than 52 companies performing on three stages: the historic Ted Shawn Theatre; the intimate Doris Duke Theatre; and the open-air Henry J. Leir Stage, home to the Pillow's free Inside/Out Performance Series which serves more than 17,000 community members annually. More than 350 free and ticketed dance performances, talks, tours, exhibits, films, classes, and community events will be offered June 15-August 25, 2013.

The 2013 Festival artists travel from four continents and seven countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, and across the U.S. Festival highlights include the world premiere of New York City Ballet star Wendy Whelan's new project Restless Creature, as well as premieres by contemporary ballet choreographer Jessica Lang; tap artist Michelle Dorrance; Samuel Murez of French contemporary ballet ensemble 3e étage: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet; and a new work by European master choreographer Nacho Duato, performed by the Martha Graham Dance Company.

L-E-V, the new company from Israel co-founded by choreographic collaborators Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, will make its U.S. debut with the evening-length work HOUSE. Master musicians will perform live with at least four engagements, including celebrated Kuchipudi specialist dancer Shantala Shivalingappa; Dorrance Dance's The Blues Project; Canada's O Vertigo, performing La Vie Qui Bat to Steve Reich's "Drumming;" and the flamenco artists of La Otra Orilla of Montréal.

Other special engagements include the newly revitalized Dance Theatre of Harlem; encore performances by Festival 2012's sold-out hip-hop hit Compagnie Käfig; 3e étage: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet) in Le Pillow Thirteen, a program created specifically for Jacob's Pillow; Martha Graham Dance Company in the revival of Graham's Rite of Spring; and 2012 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award winner Kyle Abraham's newest work, Pavement.

"If audiences dive into the range and variety of Festival 2013, it will be an exciting and incomparable dance experience," comments Ella Baff, Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director. "The best part about a Festival is the opportunity to explore and see new artists and dance styles as well as enjoy beloved classics and favorites. I hope our visitors will discover new companies such as Sharon Eyal's intense and provocative L-E-V from Israel, and other new productions including the world premiere and co-commission of the superb ballerina Wendy Whelan's new adventure, Restless Creature, and a new tap production by choreographer Michelle Dorrance with live music by acclaimed composer and musician Toshi Reagon. We will also reach back in important dance history with the revival of Martha Graham's Rite of Spring and Dance Theatre of Harlem performing iconic works by George Balanchine and Alvin Ailey.

Each Festival we strive to bring the best of international dance, dedicated to presenting companies and new works that will only be seen at Jacob's Pillow in the beautiful Berkshires. With artists from Canada, Brazil, France, Israel, India, Germany, and all over the United States, you can enjoy the top talent from many corners of the world. I can't wait to share the season with everyone."

The School at Jacob's Pillow 2013 programs are equally international and varied in scope. Pre-professional dancers from around the world will audition to take part in programs in Ballet, Commercial Dance, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance. Artist faculty and program directors include esteemed ballet master teacher and coach Anna-Marie Holmes; New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan; former house choreographer for Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company, Sharon Eyal; former Ballet Frankfurt member, choreographer Helen Pickett; commercial dance choreographer and director Jeffrey Page, Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director Virginia Johnson; revered master teacher Milton Myers; Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theatre Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman, Broadway choreographer and director Chet Walker, and many others.

Prior to the Festival, Jacob's Pillow and MASS MoCA will co-present Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM), March 2 and 3. Under the artistic direction of Louis Robitaille, BJM bridges a range of contemporary styles and aesthetics with strong classical technique. They will perform the works of three international choreographers: Canadian dancemaker Wen Wei Wang's Nightbox; Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto's forceful duet, Zero In On; and Israeli-born choreographer and Festival 2010 artist Barak Marshall's theatrical work, Harry. Marshall's work MONGER made its U.S. premiere at the Pillow in 2010 and BJM has performed at the Festival on several occasions.


81st Season Opening Gala

Saturday, June 15

Wendy Whelan serves as Honorary Co-Chair for the 2013 Gala and will dance as part of the Gala performance. Members of Dance Theatre of Harlem will also perform at the Gala and dancers of the Ballet Program of The School at Jacob's Pillow will present a world premiere created on them in four days by Helen Pickett, a former company member of William Forsythe's Frankfurt Ballet, recently appointed resident choreographer of the Atlanta Ballet. This signature fundraising event includes a one-night-only performance, dinner, live music, and a big dance party. Additional performers will be announced in the coming months.

Dance Theatre of Harlem

Ted Shawn Theatre, June 19- 23

The legendary and newly revitalized classical and contemporary ballet company will open Festival 2013. Led by founding member and former principal dancer Virginia Johnson, the company will present a range of classic and new work that spans several eras of dance in America, including George Balanchine's 1957 masterwork Agon, which features an iconic pas de deux first performed by then-New York City Ballet dancer and subsequent Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell and ballerina Diana Adams. Also on the program, The Lark Ascending (1972) is one of Alvin Ailey's most balletic works, set to an eponymous score by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams created for violin and orchestra in 1920. Dance Theatre of Harlem will be the first company to perform the work en pointe. Far But Close (2012) is a modern-day ballet by Canadian choreographer John Alleyne, with text by award-winning actor, singer, and writer Daniel Beaty and music by composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain. This Festival engagement carries great meaning as DTH made its first ever professional appearances at the Pillow in 1970.

Compagnie Käfig

Ted Shawn Theatre, June 26- 30

Compagnie Käfig was the word-of-mouth hit of Festival 2012, with six sold-out performances. They return for an encore engagement of AGWA and Correria. Under the direction of influential French hip-hop choreographer Mourad Merzouki, the all-male cast of Compagnie Käfig features self-taught hip-hop dancers from Brazil. Joyously entertaining, the show is also intelligent and contemporary. It features samba, bossa nova, and electronic music, with choreography based in the unabashed virtuosity of hip-hop dance, which has absorbed many movement influences from martial arts to ballet. Correria explores the act of running through choreography that is by turns delightfully funny and emotionally evocative. AGWA includes a symbolic narrative of water as a precious resource, and features a stage design of hundreds of plastic cups around which the dancers deploy astonishing virtuosity. Janine Parker of The Boston Globe calls the program "Not exactly a street spectacle brought indoors. Nor is it a formal dance concert. Rather, it's a joyous hybrid of the two worlds."


Doris Duke Theatre, June 26- 30

LEO is a fantastical production from Berlin. Through a blend of physical theatre, acrobatics, video animation, and imaginative humor, "the audience gets gravity-defying spectacle and the wizard behind the curtain at the same time" (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times). Mind-bending, surreal, and touching, LEO challenges the senses and tests perceptions of reality through the clever interplay of live performance and video projection, with an engaging music score that includes Frank Sinatra vocals. Dubbed "the anti-gravity show," LEO is a production for all ages. Total Theatre Magazine (U.K) comments, "LEO is majestic. Simple and sophisticated...an ingenious, elegant show."

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Ted Shawn Theatre, July 3-7

Under the direction of choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer, the dancers of this New York City-based contemporary ensemble are sleek, strong, and daringly athletic. Company members hail from Brazil, Korea, France, Portugal, Romania, and across the U.S.; they have worked with major international dance companies such as the Royal Danish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and Batsheva Ensemble, as well as within commercial forms including television and music videos. Cedar Lake is noted for commissioning dance from innovative, sought-after choreographers. Its repertory includes works by Israel-born, U.K.-based dancemaker Hofesh Shechter; Jacob's Pillow Dance Award winner Crystal Pite; former member of Nederlands Dans Theater II and Royal Swedish Ballet member Alexander Ekman; and Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Shechter's company made its U.S. debut at Jacob's Pillow in 2008 and Cherkaoui's work Orbo Novo, commissioned by Cedar Lake, had its world premiere at the 2009 Festival. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times calls the company "a New York success story, possibly the country's most innovative contemporary ballet troupe with an A-list repertoire, and an accent on creation that few companies worldwide can match." Program to be announced.

Shantala Shivalingappa

Doris Duke Theatre, July 3-7

Born in India and raised in Paris, Shantala Shivalingappa has been called "divinely gifted" (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times). She "erases cultural boundaries with her lightness, wit, and musicality" (The New Yorker) and has worked with some of the greatest artists of our time, including choreographer and opera director Maurice Béjart, English theatre and film director Peter Brook, and the legendary dancemaker Pina Bausch. Her vivid interpretations of the classical south Indian dance style Kuchipudi are steeped in expressive narrative, and are known for sensual flowing lines, nimble leaps, and intricate, percussive footwork. Accompanied by four master musicians, live music and dance come together in this evening of new Kuchipudi work that is co-commissioned by Jacob's Pillow. Shivalingappa first appeared at the Pillow in 2008; this is her third engagement at the Festival.

Companhia Urbana de Dança

Ted Shawn Theatre, July 10-14

Choreographer and Artistic Director Sonia Destri is recognized for intelligently combining hip-hop with dramatic, creative contemporary choreography. Her company, founded in Brazil in 2004, features dancers from the suburbs and favelas of Rio de Janeiro, who have developed a range of movement vocabulary that incorporates hip-hop, urban, contemporary, and Brazilian social dance. At the Pillow, they present Chapa Quente ("hot plate" in Portuguese), which is inspired by the streets of Rio and pumps with adrenaline. Also on the program, ID: Entidades bursts with raw energy and contemporary artistry. Robert Gottlieb of The New York Observer describes the program as, "[eight] terrific guys mixing hip-hop and modern-dance moves in a totally satisfying work...For once, hip-hop was used to an artistic end and not merely as exhibitionism, however exciting." The company's 2010 U.S. debut was ranked among Time Out New York's "Top 10" dance performances of the year.

Brian Brooks Moving Company

Doris Duke Theatre, July 10-14

Since 2002, Brian Brooks's contemporary dance company has been presented throughout the U.S., South Korea, and in Europe. He "loves to shatter conventional notions of the human capacity for strength and endurance" (Susan Yung of Dance Magazine) in dances with bold stage design and rigorous movement. The company's Pillow program includes BIG CITY, which explores aspects of construction and deconstruction, and boasts a dynamic, large-scale installation built with hundreds of aluminum pipes, showcasing Brooks's affinity for architectural design. The solo I'm Going to Explode juxtaposes the tension of working within confined spaces against the relief of breaking out of them, and the group piece DESCENT investigates the dependent relationship between bodies. Closing the program, the dancers in the duet from MOTOR "subtly, sublimely vary their routine, gradually injecting graceful swoops and other twists, for a complex, transcendent ode to simplicity." (The Chicago Tribune). Brooks will also perform with Wendy Whelan in Restless Creature, August 14-18 (see below).

Ballet BC

Ted Shawn Theatre, July 17-21

From British Columbia, Ballet BC is one of Canada's top contemporary ballet companies, directed by choreographer Emily Molnar since 2009. A former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, William Forsythe's Frankfurt Ballet, and Ballet BC, Molnar has brought the company into a new era of innovation and collaboration by working with top international choreographers. Their program at the Pillow includes three U.S. premieres. Petite Cérémonie, created by Nederlands Dans Theater's Medhi Walerski, is set to music by Mozart, Puccini, and Vivaldi. Italian choreographer Jacopo Godani's A.U.R.A. (Anarchist Unit Related to Art) was originally commissioned by Ballet Mainz in Germany and is set to a score composed and recorded by the popular German electro-acoustic duo 48nord. Molnar's own Aniel was inspired by avant-garde composer and saxophonist John Zorn's album, Book of Angels. The score, recorded by Cracow Klezmer Band and the Masada String Trio, is percussive and vibrant, and the choreography features a whimsical explosion of color and "seriously fun dancing" (Vancouver Sun).

Tere O'Connor Dance

Doris Duke Theatre, July 17-21

Contemporary choreographer Tere O'Connor has received three New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a 2009 United States Artist Rockefeller fellow among, among many other honors in his prolific career. Tere O'Connor Dance celebrated its 25th year with the premiere of Cover Boy in December 2011 and now brings the evening-length work to the Pillow. Part expression, part exorcism, and part political observation, O'Connor's Cover Boy explores the closeted gay experience and the socially charged nature of "otherness." The work plunges into isolation and connection in an abstract fashion as four male dancers perform choreography that ranges from supple, tender interplay to unbridled aggression. Original music by O'Connor's longtime collaborator, composer James Baker, and an expansive hanging set design by Aptum Architecture (Roger Hubeli and Julie Larsen) add to the atmosphere and metaphor of the work. Gia Kourlas writes in Time Out New York "Cover Boy looks at beauty, the body, fear and desire to find the positive in what would otherwise be thought of as a marginalized existence." Dance critic Deborah Jowitt calls it a "...fascinating, moving, beautifully imagined and performed work."