The School At Jacob's Pillow Announces 2020 Programs

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The School at Jacob's Pillow, a world-renowned center for artistic growth and excellence, announces 2020 professional advancement programs in Contemporary Ballet, Street & Club Dances, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance; and professional development programs in Choreography and Dance Photography. Situated in the heart of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the longest-running dance festival in the United States, The School has been instrumental in furthering the careers of dance artists for over 80 years and offers innovative programs each year with its roster of renowned and sought-after choreographers and dance leaders who serve as faculty. Dancers selected to attend The School at Jacob's Pillow join one of the most influential international dance networks in the field.

Exclusively for summer 2020, Bessie Award-winning b-girl Ephrat Asherie and Voguing legend, Archie Burnett direct a new program titled Street & Club Dances: Styles, Culture, History. The new biennial Musical Theatre Dance Program will be directed by award-winning choreographer and director Jeffery L. Page. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Luis R. Torres will launch their three-year direction of the Contemporary Ballet Program; Milton Myers and Didy Veldman will direct the Contemporary Program; Dianne McIntyre and Risa Steinberg will direct The Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellows Program; and Rose Eichenbaum will direct the Art of Photographing Dance Program.

"The School at Jacob's Pillow has grown tremendously in the past three years in alignment with our strategic plan, Vision '22. It has been truly remarkable to witness what our program directors, choreographers, and artists accomplish with our dancers and how the dancers are assisted in finding their artistic voices," says Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge.

Living and working as an artist is a hallmark of each program in The School at Jacob's Pillow. Program directors coach, guide, and mentor studio experiences that are essential for the transformational shifts required to evolve the distinctive voice of a successful professional. Immersion in the Festival is one of the key elements in making this shift occur. The Festival connects dancers to acclaimed companies performing on the Pillow's three stages. Dancers engage in meaningful career-building discussions with Festival artists, take Master Classes, attend artist and scholar-led talks, research in the Jacob's Pillow Archives, and network at Festival events and cast parties. The School experience galvanizes artistic growth, development of a unique artistic point of view, and a vision of the possibilities that can exist in dance.


Brief program descriptions and biographical information on directors can be found below. For additional information and regular updates visit

In the professional advancement programs, small ensembles of dancers work with guest choreographers and directors in the development of new works while being coached in how to be distinctive soloists, unified company members, and well-prepared for the demanding expectations of today's companies. Choreographers and dance photographers attending the professional development programs receive individualized coaching and mentoring on their work to advance their practices and careers.

Contemporary Ballet Program | June 15-28

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa & Luis R. Torres, Program Directors

The Contemporary Ballet Program is directed by internationally sought-after choreographer and 2019 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award-winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Luis R. Torres, prominent Ballet Master for The Hong Kong Ballet and repetiteur for Ochoa and Septime Webre. Under their direction, dancers will be immersed in a range of approaches for the creation and performance of contemporary ballets. Dancers perform a world premiere by Ochoa for the Festival Season Opening Gala on June 20 and a new work, to be created on them by Sacramento Ballet Artistic Director Amy Seiwert, on June 27 for the opening week of the Festival.

Street & Club Dances: Styles, Culture, History| June 29-July 12

Ephrat Asherie & Archie Burnett, Program Directors

Bessie Award-winning b-girl Ephrat Asherie and Voguing legend, known as the Ambassador of Urban Social Dance Styles, Archie Burnett direct an exclusive program in street and club dances. With a powerhouse of fellow experts they will lead classes, cyphers, and jams for dancers to experience the origins and evolution of Afrobeat, Breaking, Hustle, Litefeet, Waacking, Voguing, Salsa, 60s/70s social dances, and more. The socio-political landscape impacting the development of these dances and how they influence concert, cultural, and commercial dance today will be shared with Festival audiences on July 4 and 11.

Contemporary Program | July 13-August 2

Milton Myers & Didy Veldman, Program Directors

Milton Myers, celebrating 34 years at Jacob's Pillow as a renowned mentor, choreographer, and Horton technique expert is joined again by Dutch artistic director, choreographer, and contemporary teacher Didy Veldman to direct and guide an ensemble of 24 dancers on the cusp of becoming professionals. Dancers will work with acclaimed guest choreographers-Francesca Harper, Helen Pickett, and Stephen Shropshire-who will each create a work on the ensemble, to be performed for Festival audiences on July 18, 25, and August 1.

Musical Theatre Dance | August 3-24

Jeffery L. Page, Program Director, with a Creative Team of a Composer/Music Director and Script Developer

Multi-award winning choreographer, director, and alumnus of The School at Jacob's Pillow, Jeffery L. Page brings a dynamic team of Broadway dance and music artists to engage an ensemble of 24 performers in the early developmental phase of a new dance-driven musical about the life of pioneering African American jazz composer Billy Strayhorn. Work-in-progress showings will be held for Festival audiences on August 8 and 15. On August 23rd, the ensemble sings, dances, and presents their work about Strayhorn in Lush Life, at a benefit for The School at Jacob's Pillow held in the historic Ted Shawn Theatre.


The Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellows Program | August 25-September 4

Dianne McIntyre & Risa Steinberg, Program Directors

Eight Fellows will receive in-depth mentoring by award-winning choreographer Dianne McIntyre and choreographer mentor Risa Steinberg to refine their choreographic voice and expand their career-building network. With extensive studio time in Jacob's Pillow studios, access to the Archives, and Pillow staff and resources, the Fellows will craft and evolve choreography, with no expectations of an end-product or public showing. Conversations with guest speakers, featuring leading choreographers, presenters, lighting designers, and other key collaborators, allow the Fellows to widen their career contacts and deepen their understanding of the Pillow, their craft, and the field.

At least 10 hours of post-program mentoring is offered once the program ends. Fellows select a dance artist they feel will best further the insights they have gained through the program; this can intersect with the artists selected for the Pillow's year-round residency program, which allows the Fellows to return to shadow the artist and work independently on campus. A few of the choreographers who have mentored Fellows in previous years include Maxine Doyle, Alonzo King, Lauren Lovette, Victor Quijada, and Doug Varone.

Art of Photographing Dance Program | August 20-30

Rose Eichenbaum, Program Director

Under the guidance of award-winning photojournalist and author Rose Eichenbaum, photographers work with Festival dance company members using the Pillow's iconic landscape-from historic theaters and studios to picturesque grounds-to build a portfolio of portrait, backstage, performance, and site-specific shots. Professional and early-career photographers are mentored in developing a more highly attuned photographic eye and personal aesthetic while gaining first-hand experience in conducting successful photo shoots. Now in its 9th year, working photographers continue to return for multiple summers for this unmatched career development opportunity.


Program and scholarship applications will be available online at on December 2, 2019. Application deadlines are ongoing January through mid-March per the following schedule:

January 17 at Noon EST Early Application Deadline, Round 1

February 14 at Noon EST Early Application Deadline, Round 2

March 13 at 12am EST Regular Deadline before late application deadline begins

Accepted dancers are notified by phone and all other applicants receive email notifications about their admittance status.


Thanks to Jacob's Pillow School Sponsors and supporters, fees charged to dancers to attend The School at Jacob's Pillow are a modest $750/week and include tuition, room and board, Festival ticketed admissions, and local ground transportation. Any professional advancement program applicant may apply for a Jacob's Pillow Scholarship, which should accompany the program application. Approximately 60-70% of The School's dancers receive a scholarship to make their attendance possible.

Additionally, New World School of the Arts contemporary dancers can be considered to receive the endowed Marcia Simon Kaplan Scholarship, a full scholarship. Street and club dancers can become eligible for the American Dance Guild/Jacob's Pillow Scholarship, a full program fee scholarship, by becoming an American Dance Guild member. Learn more at on December 2, 2019.

The prestigious Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence at Jacob's Pillow, a full scholarship plus a $2,500 cash gift is awarded to one dancer each summer and presented at the annual Gotta Dance benefit for The School at Jacob's Pillow. Former awardees are dancers from the ballet, contemporary, tap, and musical theatre programs.

Program fees for the Choreography Fellows are fully underwritten by the Ann & Weston Hicks Endowment. Photographers pay a modest fee to cover tuition, mentoring, Festival ticketed event admittance, and meals; they are responsible for their own housing arrangements.

New in 2020:

Three $1,000 Jacob's Pillow Scholarship Awards are being reserved for dancers who submit a program application prior to attending a Master Class: one each for the Contemporary, Musical Theatre Dance, and Street & Club Dances programs. Dancers will automatically be considered for the scholarship during the selection process once they submit their application and attend a Recruitment Tour Master Class.


Master Classes provide an introduction to The School experience; they are not a required part of the application. Recruitment Tour dates and locations to be announced online at

The 2020 Recruitment Tour features a series of Jacob's Pillow artist-led Master Classes in the United States for professional advancement programs, including a Pillow presence at dance festivals and conferences. In addition, workshops and auditions are held at a few international sites.

Recruitment Tour Master Classes are excellent opportunities to meet Pillow artists, alumni, and staff, gain audition experience, and learn about the experience of living and training on the historic grounds of Jacob's Pillow. One or more artists lead the classes, which mirror The School experience of being coached to extend into one's range of artistry and potential as an expressive and collaborative performer.

Master Classes are open to advanced level dancers age 16 and up and are slated to take place in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and other cities.

Jacob's Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision '22. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the field's most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Musical Theatre Dance, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program (Street & Club Dances in 2019). The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. 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, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. The Pillow's Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit

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