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Jacob's Pillow Announces Dance Festival Week 4 Programming


Brian Brooks / Moving Company will perform Closing Distance on the newly renovated Henry J. Leir Stage.

Jacob's Pillow presents Brian Brooks / Moving Company on the Henry J. Leir Stage and in a site-specific performance, utilizing augmented reality technology, from July 21-25.

The company will perform Closing Distance, which premiered before the pandemic and has not been performed since, on the newly renovated Henry J. Leir Stage, along with a world premiere entitled Flight Study. Brooks will also premiere a new self-choreographed solo work entitled Quiet Music, set to the Nico Muhly piano score of the same name. Additional on-site events this week include a PillowTalk discussion about the history of all of the Pillow's performance venues, and online events include performances by CONTRA-TIEMPO, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, and Dorrance Dance as well as newly-posted PillowTalks. The Contemporary Program Performance Ensemble at The School at Jacob's Pillow, directed by renowned choreographers Helen Pickett and Milton Myers, will also perform on the Henry J. Leir Stage on Saturday, July 24. This performance will be live-streamed via Zoom simultaneously.

In addition to the Henry J. Leir Stage performances, Brian Brooks / Moving Company will premiere a site-specific performance entitled Viewpoint which pilots a tele-presence mobile dance studio to bring live performance from the Pillow to audiences around the world on Sat., July 24 at 12 p.m., created specifically for the Jacob's Pillow campus.

"Brian Brooks Moving Company was the first company to have a bubble residency in the Pillow Lab last is truly ironic that at a time of isolation, the company was working in the Lab to remount Closing Distance, a work about touch, that features Pulitzer Prize-winning music by Caroline Shaw," says Jacob's Pillow Executive & Artistic Director Pamela Tatge. "We'll have the chance to see this work on the Leir stage, along with two world premieres. On July 24, the debut of their augmented reality platform that will enable audiences around the world to have Brian dance as a 3D hologram in their living rooms, on their tabletops and anywhere else they would like to place him!"

Jacob's Pillow also presents PillowTalk: Build Me a Theater on-site on Sun., July 25 at 3:30 p.m. Ted Shawn's instructions to architect Joseph Franz provide the title for an exhibition and this discussion of Pillow performance spaces past and present. Audiences will also be able to view the online premiere of a performance by CONTRA-TIEMPO, a bold, multilingual dance theater company rooted in Salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, and contemporary dance on Thurs., July 22 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Available on-demand performances also include Nrityagram Dance Ensemble through July 22 and Dorrance Dance through July 29. PillowTalk: CONTRA-TIEMPO's Ana Maria Alvarez will premiere online Fri., July 23 at 4 p.m.

"Brian Brooks' choreography is a kind of external exploration of human limits. He imparts his work with the sensibilities of both a laboratory scientist and a visual artist.... [he] loves to shatter conventional notions of the human capacity for strength and endurance," says Susan Yung of Dance Magazine.

Closing Distance was originally commissioned by the University of Washington's Meany Center for the Performing Arts supported by a Mellon Creative Artist Fellowship, where it premiered in January 2020. The work, set to the entirely vocalized, Pulitzer Prize-winning suite "Partita for 8 Voices" by Caroline Shaw, was later workshopped in part at The Moving Company's Pillow Lab residency in October 2020. During the company's Pillow Lab residency, he describes Closing Distance as "a twenty-seven minute work about touch... it's an empathetic work." Although conceived and created in the year before the pandemic began, the work's exploration of physical empathy, bodily exchange, and human contact holds a new relevance during a time when the possibilities for these connections have been few and far between. "It is so intricate. Every dancer- every arm of every dancer- is necessary and integral to making it work," says company dancer Taylor LaBruzzo (Inside the Pillow Lab).

Brooks's new work for eight dancers, Flight Study, was created during COVID-compliant quarantined residencies at both the Pillow Lab and LUMBERYARD Center for Film and Performing Arts in Catskill, N.Y., and further cultivated during a residency at Ohio University. The work is set to GRAMMY-Award winning classical composer Bryce Dessner's string quartet entitled "Aheym." For the first time in six years, Brooks will perform a new solo, Quiet Music, set to composer Nico Muhly's spare piano score of the same name.

The innovative new Viewpoint, created in collaboration with the Seattle-based technology company Omnivor Media following Brooks' UW Fellowship, allows audiences to view a dancer performance through the lens of their smartphone in any location throughout the globe. By opening an online link that triggers the user's camera, audiences can place a 3D dancer into their environment and their reality with real-time, streaming video. Brooks' groundbreaking technology allows the viewer to control the point of view, free to move around the image from all angles and depths. Onsite Pillow audiences will have the additional opportunity to view the virtual dancer in duet with the live performer in a revolutionary fusion of live and virtual dance. This mobile dance studio pilots a new chapter of work for Brooks, who has been seeking to utilize the intersection between dance and tele-presence technology to radically expand access and intimacy within his art form.

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