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Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Presents TIRELESS

Astonishing tap artists from across the U.S. and abroad come together in a Jacob's Pillow-exclusive program curated and introduced by the "tireless ambassador of tap" Michelle Dorrance (The New York Times). TIRELESS: A Tap Dance Experience will come to the Ted Shawn Theatre, June 28-July 2, and features outstanding tap artists including Jumaane Taylor and M.A.D.D. Rhythms of Chicago, siblings Joseph and Josette Wiggan of Los Angeles, Joe Orrach of San Francisco, and Reona and Takashi Seo of Japan. A Tap Program in The School at Jacob's Pillow, All Styles Dance Battle, and many free public events make this an expansive week celebrating the art of tap dance.

"I'm very interested in exploring the practice of artist as curator," comments Pamela Tatge, Jacob's Pillow Director. "A year ago, Michelle Dorrance had just returned from Japan where she regularly interacts with their vibrant and innovative tap scene. She told me about Reona Seo and that led her to highlight for me the many explosive tap talents she sees in the U.S. and abroad. I had the idea that we should invite her to bring some of these artists together in an evening that she would curate exclusively for the Pillow. And so, TIRELESS was born. We also invited Michelle and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards to host a two week program at The School so that young talents will have the opportunity to learn from them, outstanding faculty, and all of the virtuosic artists performing at the Festival. Tap is a form that has historically been passed on from person to person, it will be so exciting to experience the synergy of having all of these artists and students in the generative environment that is Jacob's Pillow."

"The artists featured in this show represent what I find to be the most powerful and essential elements of our artform," comments Dorrance. "They embody the beautiful paradox of being simultaneously innovative and traditional. Jumaane Taylor, Joseph and Josette Wiggan, Joe Orrach, and Reona Seo are all singular dancer/choreographer/ composers and some of the world's most dynamic improvisational dancers. They infuse their work with experimental yet masterful technical approaches, invigorating rhythmic phrasing, and compelling emotional resonance. I couldn't be more honored to be a part of bringing the magic of these artists to the magic of Jacob's Pillow."

From Japan, accomplished tap dancer Reona Seo and husband and composer/double bassist Takashi Seo will present AUN ("in sync") an improvised, rapid-fire duet. Both artists have performed in festivals and on stages all over the world, but very rarely in the U.S.; Reona Seo is an alumna of the Tap Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow.

Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native turned internationally-acclaimed improvisational soloist made his professional debut with M.A.D.D Rhythms, where he now serves as Assistant Director. Taylor and the M.A.D.D. Rhythms ensemble will perform an excerpt from Supreme Love, a 50th anniversary celebration of jazz legend John Coltrane's album A Love Supreme. Laura Molzahn of The Chicago Tribune says "Taylor's huge dynamic range runs from feather-light to crushing weight; visually, he's a subtle delight, his swaying torso accenting the rhythms of feet tapping almost imperceptibly."

Siblings Joseph Wiggan and Josette Wiggan-Freund contribute the world premiere of Harmony: Tap In Motion, with music composed by Duke Ellington and Puerto Rican trombonist Juan Tizol. The two spent seven years dancing with Los Angeles-based Kennedy Tap Company and now teach, perform, and collaborate individually and as a duo. They have performed across the U.S., Finland, Cuba, Sweden, Germany, Guatemala, Russia, Japan, Spain, Israel, and beyond. Joseph Wiggan has received a Princess Grace Award for outstanding artistic achievement, has toured in numerous productions including Riverdance, the tap dance musical Imagine Tap!, and two Cirque du Soleil shows, and made his Broadway debut in George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along. Josette Wiggan-Freund has performed in the first national tour of 42nd Street, the Rockette Christmas Spectacular, the Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, and the film Idlewild; Gia Kourlas of The New York Times described a 2008 performance "she breezed across the stage, zipping through especially florid footwork with a nod to Bob Fosse. [She]... ushered in a new kind of femininity: saucy yet strong and, in every respect, modern."

Actor, dancer, singer, and solo artist Joe Orrach contributes In My Corner, a narrative performance combining story, song, dance, boxing, jump rope, and pure heart. Orrach started out as a street dancer, has danced with the likes of Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, Savion Glover, and the Nicholas Brothers, and has acted and danced in films including Everyone Says I Love You, directed by Woody Allen. Rose Desena of The Los Angeles Post calls Orrach's In My Corner "an electrifying bundle of pure, smoking of the most creative productions I have seen this year."

TIRELESS is curated by Michelle Dorrance, founder and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance. A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, 2014 Alpert Award Winner, and 2013 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award Winner, Dorrance performs, teaches, and choreographs throughout the world.

The week will close out with an All Styles Dance Battle in the Doris Duke Theatre, Sunday, July 2. Michelle Dorrance will host the battle, which will feature Festival artists, participants of the Tap Program of The School at Jacob's Pillow, and New England-based street artists; details below.

Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards will also direct the 2017 Tap Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow, June 26-July 9. TIRELESS performers Joseph Wiggan and Jumaane Taylor will serve as Faculty for the program, along with Derick K. Grant, Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Sam Weber, and musician Carmen Staaf, among others.. Students of the Tap Program will perform as part of the Inside/Out Series July 1 and 8; details below. Dorrance and Sumbry-Edwards will participate in a free PillowTalk Friday, June 20 and Sam Weber will teach a Master Class, open to the public, on Sunday, July 2; details below.

Jacob's Pillow Connections

Since 1978, Jacob's Pillow has played an active role in showcasing and promoting the art of tap dance. Numerous revered tap artists have graced Festival stages over the past 40 years including Savion Glover, Leon Collins, Gregory Hines, Dianne "Lady Di" Walker, Cartier Williams, Jimmy Slyde, Jason Samuels Smith, and many others. Tap dance has been taught in The School at Jacob's Pillow by many tap masters including Walker, Smith, Derick K. Grant, Harold Cromer, Nicholas Young, Tasha Lawson, and others.

Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance debuted at Jacob's Pillow in 2011 as part of the Inside/Out Performance Series. Dorrance received the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award in 2013 and Dorrance Dance has been presented in the Doris Duke and Ted Shawn Theatres for four seasons straight, 2013-2016. The company has participated in numerous Creative Development Residencies to create new work, including ETM: The Initial Approach and ETM: Double Down.

The first Tap Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow was directed by Dianne Walker in 2010. Michelle Dorrance directed the Tap Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow in 2014 and will direct the 2017 program with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. TIRELESS performers Reona Seo and Ian Berg are alumni of The School at Jacob's Pillow's Tap Program.

Tickets are on sale now; online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, and at the Jacob's Pillow Box Office at 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA, 01223.

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