Jacob's Pillow Announces Full 2011 Festival Calendar


Jacob's Pillow Dance, recent recipient of a prestigious National Medal of Arts, announces its full 2011 Festival calendar, including more than 120 ticketed performances and 200 free events, performances, talks, exhibits, and tours. Free event highlights include Annie Leibovitz: DANCE, an exclusive photography exhibit featuring dance images of acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz, created especially for the Pillow.

This season's Inside/Out schedule features free showings by dancers of The School at Jacob's Pillow Samba Program (July 2 & 9), Abakuá Afro-Latin Dance Company (July 21), the all-female hip-hop group Decadancetheatre (July 29), Flamenco Dance Project (August 12), Boston-based Urbanity Dance (August 24), and many others. Free PillowTalks, held Thursdays at 5pm and Saturdays at 4pm, include speakers such as composer David Lang (July 28), The Huffington Post's Debra Levine and Jennifer Edwards (August 13), Humanities scholar and cultural critic David Kyuman Kim (August 18), and Festival artist and choreographer Mark Morris (August 25). The Pillow's annual Community Dance Day (July 10), the second annual "Weekend OUT" (August 3-7), and events which are part of the Berkshire County-wide "Lift Ev'ry Voice" festival celebrating African-American Culture and Heritage in the Berkshires further welcome and engage visitors from around the world.

"Our free events are our way of saying that Jacob's Pillow belongs to everyone. The Pillow is a place to socialize with friends and family, meet new people, enjoy the idyllic grounds, and fall in love with dance," states Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director.

Jacob's Pillow kicks off the Festival and new season of free Inside/Out performances on June 22 with the Grand Re-Opening of the Marcia and Seymour Simon Performance Space and new Henry J. Leir Stage. Following opening remarks and an official ribbon cutting, The Vanaver Caravan will perform; the ensemble was one of the first dance companies to perform when the Inside/Out series launched in the 1980s. This free event, celebrating the broad community of audience members and artists that supported the rebuilding of the stage, begins at 5:45pm and all are invited.

Since 1983 the Pillow's outdoor stage has featured hundreds of free performances by emerging and established dance companies and showings by dancers of The School at Jacob's Pillow. In Festival 2011 this beloved performance tradition continues every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 6:15pm during the Festival. Last season, with generous and broad-based support from the general public, Jacob's Pillow raised enough funding to rebuild the stage. The funds raised during the "Save the Stage" initiative completed a $1.1 million campaign to improve amenities and facilities at the Pillow, with the support of a $400,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund matching challenge grant. Updates and improvements include the new Henry J. Leir Stage with expanded entrances and exits for artists; the Sylvia T. Pope Musicians' Stage; the newly expanded dressing areas; the Jennie Ann Kassanoff Garden; new benches, many of which are named in honor of donors and artists; and a re-graded public seating area with improved sightlines.

The following is a complete listing of all Festival 2011 ticketed and free events. The 79th Festival begins June 18 with the Season Opening Gala and concludes August 28.

Annie Leibovitz: DANCE
Blake's Barn
Open Tuesdays-Sundays, noon through final curtain
One of the world's most widely known portrait photographers, Annie Leibovitz has long been interested in capturing the human body, photographing dancers such as Suzanne Farrell, Darci Kistler, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and David Parsons. Leibovitz has worked with Mark Morris and his company on numerous occasions, and has conceived this exhibition especially for the Pillow to salute the 30th anniversary of the Mark Morris Dance Group.

If You Couldn't See Trisha Brown
Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby
Open Wednesdays-Sundays, 60 minutes pre-performance
A remarkable 1994 Trisha Brown solo, If You Couldn't See Me, was so titled because she performed it with her back to the audience. This exhibition attempts a similar sleight-of-hand, featuring highlights from her past work as well as some oF Brown's own drawings, with the artist's presence concentrated behind the scenes. Emphasizing a wide-ranging creative output, these materials are presented in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Trisha Brown Dance Company and a Pillow relationship that spans more than three decades.

Modern Classics by Barbara Morgan
Doris Duke Theatre Lobby
Open Wednesdays-Sundays, 30 minutes pre-performance
An inspiration to Annie Leibovitz and generations of photographers and dancers, Barbara Morgan created unforgettable images of Martha Graham and other pioneering modern dancers from the generation that followed Pillow founder Ted Shawn. Morgan's family has donated a collection of her original prints from the 1930s and 40s to the Dance Program of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a selection of these iconic images are gathered to celebrate The Dance Claimed Me, an important new biography of a Morgan subject, Pearl Primus.

Precious Medals
Blake's Barn
Open Tuesdays-Sundays, noon through final curtain
When President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to Jacob's Pillow at the White House this year, the Pillow became the first dance presenting organization ever to receive this distinction. The medal itself and the signed presidential proclamation are on display here along with some of the other awards received by the Pillow and its founder, Ted Shawn, including the Capezio Award, The Commonwealth Award, Shawn's medal from the King of Denmark, and other treasures.

Anniversary Highlights: The First Forty
Bakalar Studio
Open to the public whenever classes or rehearsals are not in session
Photos from past Pillow seasons traditionally line these walls each summer, and the upcoming 80th anniversary in 2012 offers a special opportunity to look back comprehensively in two forty-year companion exhibits. This first installment includes images from the Pillow's inception in 1933 through 1972, the year of founder Ted Shawn's death. Foreshadowing next season's anniversary, these images recall high points from the Festival's formative eras.

Jacob's Pillow Archives
Blake's Barn
Open Tuesdays-Sundays, noon through final curtain
This informal library and reading room allows impromptu visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow's computer catalog, or peruse Permanent Collections of Pillow programs and photographs. Pillow Interactive, the popular touch-screen kiosk, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s, and a preview of the Dance Heritage Coalition's new Secure Media Network features videos from other archives throughout the country.

Ticketed Event - Season Opening Gala
Saturday, June 18
The Season Opening Gala kicks off Festival 2011 and marks the private opening of the new Annie Leibovitz dance photography exhibit. Gala performances include a solo by David Neumann, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in Benjamin Millepied's duet Closer, KEIGWIN + COMPANY in Runaway, performances by Mark Morris Dance Group, and a solo performance by acclaimed pianist and composer Philip Glass. A world premiere created by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, learned in four days, will be performed by dancers of the Ballet Program of The School at Jacob's Pillow. The prestigious 2011 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award will be presented to a distinguished artist, to be announced at a later date. Dinner, dancing to live music, and a live auction on the Pillow's Great Lawn follow. The Season Opening Gala is a benefit event; funds raised support the artistic and educational programs of Jacob's Pillow, a not-for-profit organization. For tickets and information call 413.243.9919 x126.

The 2011 Gala Honorary Co-Chairs are Benjamin Millepied, New York City Ballet principal dancer and choreographer of the Oscar-winning film BLACK SWAN, and Mercedes Ellington, veteran Broadway performer and choreographer and granddaughter of jazz legend Duke Ellington. The Gala Co-Chairs are Jacob's Pillow Board Member Hunter K. Runnette, Dr. Mark P. VandenBosch, Dan Schulman, and Jennie Kassanoff.

Ticketed Performances - Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, June 22 - Saturday, June 25, 8pm
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26, 2pm
Following a critically acclaimed U.S. debut at Jacob's Pillow in 2007, Ballet Genève returns to perform the U.S. premiere of Romeo and Juliet, an evening-length contemporary ballet by French choreographer Joëlle Bouvier. Created in 2009 for twenty-two classically trained dancers and set to Sergei Prokofiev's classic score, this contemporary ballet is full of drama and style. Traditional sets are reimagined, the familiar balcony is replaced with a sweeping stage-wide circular ramp designed by Rémi Nicolas and Jacqueline Bosson. Tickets $59.50-64.50. $10 Saturday/Sunday matinee Youth Tickets (sponsored by ALEX®; must be accompanied by an adult).

Ticketed Performances - KEIGWIN + COMPANY
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, June 22 - Saturday, June 25, 8:15pm
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26, 2:15pm
Larry Keigwin's fresh, witty work stretches from contemporary dance and cabaret to New York Fashion Week and MTV, and bears his distinct choreographic style Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times calls "a parcel of pure explosive energy mediated by impressive technical skills." KEIGWIN + COMPANY's program includes Megalopolis, danced to "World Town" and "XR2" by hip-hop artists MIA and "Sextet-Six Marimbas" by Steve Reich; the fashion-inspired work Runaway, which "exemplifies true fierceness, and laser focus, utilizing poses to go beyond poses into new enigmatic terrain" (James Wolcott of Vanity Fair); and Love Songs, comprised of three sets of romantic and witty duets danced to the songs of Nina Simone, Roy Orbison, and Aretha Franklin. Tickets $34.50-37.50.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Inside/Out Grand Re-Opening with The Vanaver Caravan
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
SPECIAL TIME Wednesday, June 22, 5:45pm
Join us to celebrate the opening of the brand new Henry J. Leir Stage. Following the ceremony, the popular Vanaver Caravan will perform live music and excerpts of Earthbeat, featuring dance styles from around the world. The Vanaver Caravan was one of the first companies to perform on the stage, before the Inside/Out performance series first opened to the public in 1983.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - Romeo and Juliet and Ballet
Thursday, June 23, 5pm
For more than two hundred years, choreographers have been creating dance versions of Romeo and Juliet. In this discussion of various approaches, Ballet Genève's Philippe Cohen joins faculty members of The School at Jacob's Pillow: Ballet Program Director Anna-Marie Holmes and Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater.

Free Inside/Out Performance - James Hansen Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Thursday, June 23, 6:15pm
The music of Frank Sinatra and Cher meet in Lovely, a contemporary dance evoking the drama and humor of relationships. In Switching Yard, dancers combine social dance and techno Latin music to build complex partnering sequences.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Hilary Easton + Company
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Friday, June 24, 6:15pm
The dancers in Easton's Light and Shade illustrate the daily negotiations, conflicts, and resolutions that occur in a long-term relationship, through snippets of conversation and precise, intimate movement.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - Barbara Morgan's Modern Classics
Saturday, June 25, 4pm
The images created by photographer Barbara Morgan in the 1930s and 40s have inspired contemporary artists including Annie Leibovitz, and continue to define our image of that seminal time in modern dance history. This exploration of her legacy celebrates the exhibition on view this season in the Doris Duke Theatre lobby.

Free Inside/Out Performance - The School at Jacob's Pillow: Ballet
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Saturday, June 25, 6:15pm
To conclude their study in the Ballet Program, dancers present classical ballet variations coached by Program Director Anna-Marie Holmes and Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, and the new work created on them by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch.

Ticketed Performances - Carte Blanche
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, June 29 - Saturday, July 2, 8pm
Saturday, July 2 & Sunday, July 3, 2pm
Norway's award-winning National Company of Contemporary Dance performs a program of contemporary works by Sharon Eyal, a resident choreographer of Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company. Originally choreographed for Batsheva Dance Company in 2003, Eyal's Love is a multi-layered study of movement, structure, and physical power. Commissioned and premiered by Carte Blanche, Eyal's 2009 work Killer Pig, is a hypnotic look at strength and femininity. The work will have its U.S. premiere at Jacob's Pillow, performed by an all-female cast of six dancers who display the epitome of control, sensuality, and physical power. While members of Carte Blanche performed as part of Houston's Dance Salad Festival in 2009, this six-performance Jacob's Pillow engagement marks the U.S. debut of the full company. Tickets $43.50-64.50.

Ticketed Performances - Jane Comfort and Company
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, June 29 - Saturday, July 2, 8:15pm
Saturday, July 2 & Sunday, July 3, 2:15pm
For more than 25 years, Jane Comfort has challenged the boundaries of dance and theatre. Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice comments, "Few of Comfort's peers who are into dance drama have her gift for melding singing, vocalizing, speech and movement into an inseparable whole...Words, music and movement seethe together, united, their rhythms whirl the morsels of meaning into life stories." This engagement will include Jane Comfort's newest work Beauty, a serious and funny dance-theatre work that explores the American notion of female beauty and its metamorphosis over the last 50 years, through the lens of the iconic Barbie doll. The company will also perform Comfort's Underground River, originally commissioned by Jacob's Pillow in 1998 and honored with a Bessie Award that same year as a "risk-taking and profound theatrical tour de force." Underground River exists in the fantasy world of a young girl, with melodies by singer/songwriter Toshi Reagon and puppets by Basil Twist. Tickets $34.50-37.50.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Joanna Kotze
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Wednesday, June 29, 6:15pm
ONE/4, a dance in four sections, morphs from formal precise movement to malleable, elastic phrases, and the duet Between You and Me juxtaposes solitude and camaraderie.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - Creating the Comfort Zone
Thursday, June 30, 5pm
Choreographer Jane Comfort created her contemporary classic Underground River at the Pillow, and this season presents another new work entitled Beauty. The creative process of each of these two works is examined and juxtaposed with the other, in a discussion with dramaturg Anne Davison.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Adam Barruch Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Thursday, June 30, 6:15pm
Presenting highly physical and witty dance theatre works, Barruch, an alumnus of The School at Jacob's Pillow, performs The Worst Pies in London set to the opening song of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Terra Firma Dance Theatre
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Friday July 1, 6:15pm
Artistic Director Stuart Loungway's Chamber uses flowing, graceful movement to illustrate intimacy between dancers, and presents a new, exuberant, contemporary rock ballet.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - The Belgian Norwegian Israeli Connection
Saturday, July 2, 4pm
Norway's Carte Blanche is directed by Belgian Bruno Heynderickx, who has selected the work of Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal for this company's rare U.S. appearance. This head-spinning conglomeration of national origins provides the starting point for a discussion of the ever-increasing internationalism in dance today.

Free Inside/Out Performance - The School at Jacob's Pillow: Samba
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Saturday, July 2, 6:15pm
Under the direction of Jomar Mesquita, Artistic Director of one of Brazil's leading dance companies Mimulus, dancers of The School present the movement and rhythms of samba, an energetic form of Brazilian origin.

Ticketed Performances - Tangueros del Sur
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, July 6 - Saturday, July 9, 8pm
Saturday, July 9 & Sunday, July 10, 2pm
Artistic Director Natalia Hills, an original member of the Broadway and London hit Forever Tango, leads an ensemble of some of the world's best tango artists in Romper el Piso (Break the Floor). The company showcases the intricate footwork, partnering, sensuality, and drama that comprise this classic Argentinean dance style, from its traditional beginnings to its modern ballroom interpretation. Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times calls Hills "a completely appealing and stylish dancer: delightful at a brisk tempo, sensuous at any pace." Onstage master musicians perform the rhythms and melodies of composers from Juan D'Arienzo to Astor Piazzolla, on bandoneón, cello, guitar, piano, and percussion. Tickets $59.50-64.50. $10 Saturday/Sunday matinee Youth Tickets (sponsored by ALEX®; must be accompanied by an adult).

Ticketed Performances - Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, July 6 - Saturday, July 9, 8:15pm
Saturday, July 9 & Sunday, July 10, 2:15pm
Crystal Pite is widely regarded as one of the most talented contemporary choreographers of today and her company is now based in both Vancouver and Frankfurt, where she danced for years with William Forsythe. Pite has created work for Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (where she was Resident Choreographer 2001-2004), Ballet British Columbia, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and her own company. Her full-evening production Dark Matters is a mystery thriller told in dance, as unseen forces are at work when a lonely artist creates a puppet with fateful results. The dancers of Kidd Pivot lure audiences into a world of puppetry, contemporary dance, theatre, fantasy, humor, and thrilling twists and turns, set to compellingly ominous original music by Owen Belton. Tickets $34.50-37.50.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Mark Stuart Dance Theatre
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Wednesday, July 6, 6:15pm
Dubbed "smoldering" by The New York Times, Adhesion is a whirlwind of passion and intensity, as dancers are thrown and flipped into the air. Torque and Entanglement grapple with opposing physical forces through daring partnering.

Free PillowTalk Discussion and Book Signing - The Dance Claimed Me: Pearl Primus
Thursday, July 7, 5pm
The pioneering Trinidad-born dancer/choreographer Pearl Primus is the subject of a new biography by her colleagues Peggy and Murray Schwartz, just published by Yale University Press, which is filled with intrigue and controversy. Following the Talk, see a related presentation of Primus solos as part of the Inside/Out series at 6:15pm.

This event is part of Lift Ev'ry Voice: Celebrating African-American Culture and Heritage in the Berkshires.

Free Inside/Out Performance - University Dancers
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Thursday, July 7, 6:15pm
UMass Amherst's Dance Program touring company presents three solos by legendary dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist Pearl Primus, who sought to educate American audiences about African dance as an art form. Her dances of social protest remain a moving response to the injustices suffered by African Americans in the 1940s.

This event is part of Lift Ev'ry Voice: Celebrating African-American Culture and Heritage in the Berkshires.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Friday, July 8, 6:15pm
Selwyn's Five Minutes takes audiences through contrasting emotional and physical patterns in five-minute intervals. Dancers experience each interval through rushing movement and a constant feeling of spontaneity

Related Articles

Boston THEATER Stories | Shows  Follow BWW Boston

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...