Bill T. Jones to Receive 2010 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award 6/19

Jacob's Pillow announces today that Executive Director Ella Baff will soon present the fourth annual Jacob's Pillow Dance Award to Bill T. Jones, acclaimed choreographer, co-founder, and artistic director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Tony Award winner for Spring Awakening, and director of the current Broadway hit FELA! The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award honors outstanding visionary artists and carries a prize of $25,000, one of the largest cash awards in the dance industry, to be used by the choreographer to enhance their artistry in any way they choose. The official in-person presentation of the Award will take place at the Jacob's Pillow Season Opening Gala on Saturday, June 19.

"Bill is quite simply one of the greatest artists of our time," comments Ella Baff, Jacob's Pillow Dance Executive Director. "Fearless in his thinking and aesthetic investigations, he has taken his art, and his audiences along with it, to illuminating places. He will continue to make an enormous contribution to the arts and the Pillow is proud to honor him."

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will perform the multilayered collage of movement, live music, and American history, Serenade/The Proposition, in the Ted Shawn Theatre July 21-25. In addition, "Arnie Zane on Bill T. Jones," a photography exhibit of images featuring a young Jones by late Arnie Zane, a provocative photographer, choreographer, and company co-founder, will open at the Pillow on June 23 and run through the end of August. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award was created in 2007 with an ongoing, annual anonymous gift of $50,000, of which $25,000 is given to an artist of exceptional vision. In addition to the cash award, the honoree receives a custom-desigNed Glass sculpture by Berkshire-based artist Tom Patti, whose work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among other prominent collections worldwide. In 2007, the inaugural Award was given to Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, co-directors of Big Dance Theater. In 2008, Alonzo King, Artistic Director of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, was honored and in 2009 the Award was given to Merce Cunningham, whose company gave its final performances during his lifetime at Jacob's Pillow.

The other $25,000 of the annual gift supports Jacob's Pillow commissions, presentations, and the Creative Development Residency Program, which has supported Festival 2010 artists Monica Bill Barnes, Kyle Abraham, and Camille A. Brown, all of whom will perform at the June 19 Gala.

The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award emphasizes the Pillow's commitment to support choreographers at various stages of their careers, and to support the creation of new work through the Pillow's Creative Development Residency Program. During these residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio space, and access to the Pillow's rare and extensive Archives and other Pillow resources. In the beautiful, retreat-like atmosphere of the Pillow, the Creative Development Residencies are rare opportunities for artists to focus on the creative process without distraction.

Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, Kimberly Bartosik, and Trey McIntyre; premiered by such artists as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen De Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others.

ABOUT JONES: Bill T. Jones choreographed and performed around the world as an innovative soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. The company gave them liberty to explore their choreography, and since its inception, Jones has created over 140 works for this singular contemporary company.

Jones has recently been acclaimed for directing and choreographing the hit Broadway musical FELA! based on the life of Afrobeat innovator Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. His most recent project for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is a trio of works centered around Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy and our relationship with American history, one of which, Serenade/The Proposition, is featured in the 2010 Pillow season.

Among many accolades, Jones is the recipient of a 2007 Tony Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening and a 1994 MacArthur "Genius" Award. In 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named him an "Irreplaceable Dance Treasure." In addition to choreographing for his own company, Jones has choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boston Ballet, and Lyon Opera Ballet, among others.

Jacob's Pillow and Bill T. Jones have enjoyed a rich and mutually supportive relationship since the first appearance of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1989. Most recently Jones himself performed as part of the 2008 Gala and the company was presented the same year in Chapel/Chapter. The company has also participated in Creative Development Residencies, creating segments of the 1990 work Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land at the Pillow and rehearsing repertory pieces in 1996. Jones has said, "Jacob's Pillow is like a banner on the battlement of our country's cultural edifice. The winds whip it every which way, but still it is there, glorious and as bold as its programming, as vital as the armies of choreographers and dancers that move through it, as open and receptive as its audiences and as steadfast as its administration and the vision that drives it. Long may it wave!"

The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award is presented in person during the Pillow's Season Opening Gala performance, which this year includes Festival artist Nina Ananiashvili in the iconic solo The Dying Swan, and Creative Development Residency artists Kyle Abraham in his whirlwind solo Inventing Pookie Jenkins, a new duet by Camille A. Brown, and Another Parade, set to the music of Bach and James Brown and performed by Monica Bill Barnes & Company. The students of The School at Jacob's Pillow Ballet Program will perform a world premiere choreographed on them in just four days, by acclaimed contemporary ballet artist Karole Armitage. A new film montage from the Pillow Archives will be premiered and Ella Baff will personally present the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award to Bill T. Jones.

Support for Jacob's Pillow Dance comes, in part, from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

As of March 2010, major support for Jacob's Pillow has been provided by: Asian Cultural Council; The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The Cricket Foundation; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Frances Alexander Family Fund; The Howard Gilman Foundation; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, Inc.; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; Evelyn Stefansson Nef Foundation; National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts; Leading for the Future Initiative, a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundation, Inc.; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Royal Danish Ballet; RoBert Wood Johnson Foundation Matching Gifts Program; The Roxe Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Trust for Mutual Understanding; The Walbridge Fund, Ltd.; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; MassDevelopment; Mass Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Save America's Treasures; CEC ArtsLink and the Open World Leadership Center; ALEX®; The Legacy Banks Foundation; Pilgrim Inn; Quality Inn; Rodeway Inn; Super 8 Motel Lee; Jacob's Pillow Business Alliance; and Jacob's Pillow Members.

Major endowment support is provided by The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Surdna Foundation; and Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Photo Credit: BWW-Staff

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