Trisha Brown Dance Company to Perform at Jacob's Pillow


Trisha Brown's pioneering dance style is a celebrated cornerstone of modern dance. August 10-14, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival salutes the 40th anniversary of the Trisha Brown Dance Company with a commemorative program of works highlighting Brown's inventive choreographic range. The program includes the 1973 work Spanish Dance set to Bob Dylan's "Early Morning Rain;" Brown's popular Foray Forêt; her most recent creation Les Yeux et l'âme; and Set and Reset, a masterpiece of collaboration with fluid, geometric movement, with set and costumes by famed visual artist Robert Rauschenberg and music by Laurie Anderson. This landmark commission, Set and Reset, was initiated by Jacob's Pillow in 1982 and is emblematic of the thirty years of interactions between Trisha Brown and the Pillow.

"These performances celebrating Trisha's 40th anniversary show her versatility, originality, and ever-creative spirit and why she has been considered such an important artist for so many years," comments Ella Baff, Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director. "The music alone - from Bob Dylan and Laurie Anderson to the Baroque composer Rameau - clues us in to her range of abilities and super-intelligence at work. I also think some audience members will be surprised to find out that Trisha Brown is also witty and whimsical!"

Dance legend Trisha Brown is known for her groundbreaking originality and complexity. After moving to New York City in the 1960s she became heavily involved in what was to become the post-modern dance phenomena of the Judson Dance Theater. She found the extraordinary in everyday movement and sought to challenge existing perceptions of dance performance. Claudia La Rocco of The New York Times explains, "You see the choreographic mind at work - the little wizard behind the curtain, offering something more interesting than magic."

Since establishing the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Brown has been the first female choreographer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and in 1994 she was given the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. Other honors include the Brandeis University's Creative Arts Medal in Dance, two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships, a New York State Governor's Arts Award, and the National Medal of Arts. Brown was named a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1988, an honor which was elevated to Officier in 2000, and to Commandeur in 2004.

Brown's work encapsulates many visual dynamics and artistic collaborations. The 1970 Man Walking Down the Side of a Building is one of many site-specific works created in, around, and hovering over the streets and buildings of her SoHo neighborhood. Glacial Decoy, her first of many collaborations with Robert Rauschenberg, an award-winning visual artist, premiered in 1979. Brown's works have premiered around the world and are often seen in landmark opera houses in New York, Paris, and London. As a visual artist, Brown's drawings have been displayed in many exhibitions, including Documenta 12 in Kasel, Germany, in 2007 and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2011. Brown has created nearly 100 dance works since 1961, including several operas, such as L'Orfeo and Pygmalion.

Critic Deborah Jowitt invokes images of water when she describes Brown's choreography: "You feel movement running through her body - spurting here, flowing there, diverted by new currents, but always delectably free and supple." Jowitt wrote in an essay for Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001 that Brown's fluid dancing was "considered completely inimitable."

Les Yeux et l'âme is a dance work from the production of Rameau's mid-18th-century opera Pygmalion that Brown and conductor William Christie premiered at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam last year. The piece is based on the story in Ovid's Metamorphoses about a sculptor who carves a woman out of ivory and then falls in love with her. The title is French for "the eyes and the soul.' This, Brown says, "is a variation of what the statue says to Pygmalion when she comes to life: 'I can see in your eyes what I feel in my soul.' ' Lighting is designed by the acclaimed Jennifer Tipton, who has also worked with the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Foray Forêt (1990) is one oF Brown's most requested works and it marks her final collaboration with famed visual artist Robert Rauschenberg. It is memorable for its unusual accompaniment of traditional marching band music. Featuring gold costumes and an open stage, this work marks the beginning oF Brown's Back to Zero cycle, in which she investigates unconscious movement. Mike Steele of the Star Tribune states, "She keeps pulling something clean and coherent out of the off-center, out of kilter, unexpected movements we keep expecting will fall into chaos but never do."

Spanish Dance, which premiered in 1973, presents five dancers moving to "Early Morning Rain," written by Gordon Lightfoot and performed by Bob Dylan. Eva Yaa Asantewaa of Dance Magazine writes, "Brown's unpretentious simplicity of intent and design combines here with gentle wit and sensuousness." In the piece the dancers slowly raise their arms like Spanish dancers and come to be touching front to back. As a rare glimpse into one oF Brown's noteworthy early works, Spanish Dance holds an iconic image described by Asantewaa as "a line of dancers coupled like freight cars."

The hallmark work Set and Reset closes the program at Jacob's Pillow with Brown's "seductively fluid quality" that juxtaposes to her "unpredictable geometric style," as described on the company website. Brown's "sweetheart" of her 1980s repertory, this work was initially commissioned by the Pillow in 1982. Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times calls Set and Reset, "Brown at her most tantalizing...dartingly quick but so fluid that the body seems a conduit for flowing energy."

Set and Reset is a masterpiece of modern dance that combines the creativity of a number of American artists. Lisa Kraus of Dance Magazine (also a former member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1977-1982) states, "[Set and Reset] is nonstop and full of small explosions, like fish zooming together when you toss them food. At The Edges of the space are small dramas, half in/half out, with dancers held at acute about-to-fall angles. Casual walks and runs are cut short to catch fellow dancers hurtling through space...With its pile-ups and near misses, it's a thrilling dance adventure."

Set and Reset is performed to a driving score by Laurie Anderson, award-winning musician and creative composer best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. The work investigates visibility and invisibility. The combination of a clanging triangle, pounding drums, and Anderson's words "long time no see" creates a bursting sound landscape for the movement to build upon. Sets and costumes were designed by acclaimed visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, who regularly collaborated with Brown, and the entire collaboration was set in motion by a grant from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, initiated and facilitated by Jacob's Pillow.

Through this special anniversary celebration, Jacob's Pillow and Trisha Brown continue what has been a long-lasting relationship first initiated in 1980 by former Jacob's Pillow Executive Director and Trisha Brown Dance Company member Liz Thompson. It has been nurtured through frequent interactions, such as when Brown taught Composition in The School at Jacob's Pillow in 1980, when the Pillow spearheaded an extensive New England residency for the company in 1986-87, and when the Pillow was a co-commissioner oF Brown's Five Part Weather Invention and presented its world premiere in the Ted Shawn Theatre in 1999.

This year, the Jacob's Pillow exhibit If You Couldn't See Trisha Brown features highlights from Brown's past work as well as her own drawings. Open to the public in the Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby before and after performances, the exhibit relays her artistic presence concentrated behind the scenes. On Thursday, August 11 at 5pm, a free PillowTalk titled Masterworks of Trisha Brown will include a discussion with art historian Douglas Crimp focused on the role of visual art in Brown's work. Film excerpts oF Brown's work will be presented to illustrate the mastery of her dances. PillowTalks are free and open to the public, and offer rare interaction with artists and experts in the field with in-depth discussions, moderated interviews, film screenings, and book signings. See a full list of the week's free events below.

RELATED EVENT: Arts Educator Weekend
Jacob's Pillow hosts an Arts Educator Weekend August 12-14 in recognition of all arts educators, including instructors, lecturers, research scholars, teaching fellows, and professors from a wide range of performing and visual arts genres. The weekend includes special ticket discounts and free events in honor of their cultural importance in the development of art appreciation.

Jacob's Pillow will offer a 25% Arts Educator discount for any Trisha Brown Dance Company or Jodi Melnick/David Neumann weekend performance (limit 6 per educator, August 12-14).

A full schedule of free events will be offered throughout the weekend including the new Annie Leibovitz: Dance photography exhibit, free outdoor performances, opportunities to observe The School at Jacob's Pillow Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance Program in class and rehearsal, and an Arts Educator Mixer on Saturday, August 13 at 5pm to provide a chance to connect, network, and share ideas with other educators in the field. 

Performance and Ticket Information

Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, August 10 through Saturday, August 13 at 8pm
Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 at 2pm
Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob's Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered in Blake's Barn 30 minutes before every performance.
Tickets $59.50-64.50. Now on sale online at, via phone at 413.243.0745 or in person at the Jacob's Pillow Box Office.
Under 35 Fridays: As part of the Pillow's younger audiences initiative: $35 under 35 tickets (for individuals 35 and younger) are available for the Friday evening performance of the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Limit two (2) per person, must show valid I.D. when tickets are picked up. Under 35 ticket holders will also receive a bonus gift from Under 35 Fridays sponsor Blue Q.
Box Office hours: Monday and Tuesday 10am-6pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 12pm-5:30pm.

Pillow Members receive exclusive benefits. To become a Member call 413.243.9919 x125.

Jacob's Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob's Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped-accessible.

Free Events at the Pillow August 10-14

Free Inside/Out Performance - WalkingTalking/Catherine Miller
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Wednesday, August 10, 6:15pm
Inspired by a t-shirt that read, "Romeo and Juliet wouldn't have lasted," Miller's Juliet Looks to the West depicts the negotiations within a relationship through jumps, leaps, and the company's signature physicality.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - Masterworks of Trisha Brown
Thursday, August 11, 5pm
Art historian Douglas Crimp wrote a major article on Trisha Brown for Artforum earlier this year in a fitting tribute to her company's 40th anniversary. Crimp will discuss the role of visual art in Brown's work, using film clips to illustrate the mastery in her dances.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Loni Landon-projects
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Thursday, August 11, 6:15pm
On the Fence uses Loni Landon's highly physical contemporary movement to focus on the experience and consequences of indecision. Landon also presents a new work set to the soothing electronic music of Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Free Inside/Out Performance - Flamenco Dance Project
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Friday, August 12, 6:15pm
Artistic Director Sabrina Avilés presents the many moods and rhythms of flamenco with her company of exceptional dancers and musicians, in a program that ranges from the laid-back Guajiras to the lively Caracoles.

Free PillowTalk Discussion - Online Dancing
Saturday, August 13, 4pm
The Huffington Post's Debra Levine and Jennifer Edwards lead a discussion on how dance is being
looked at and talked about online, 24 hours a day. The new Virtual Pillow efforts will be explored
alongside other initiatives now providing more free access to dance than ever before.

Free Inside/Out Performance - The School at Jacob's Pillow: Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Saturday, August 13, 6:15pm
Following their second week of study at The School, dancers present new works created by Program Director Chet Walker and guest choreographer Brad Musgrove, whose Broadway credits include The Producers, La Cage aux Folles, and 42nd Street.

Free 2011 Gallery Exhibits
All exhibits are free and open to the public June 21-August 28.

Annie Leibovitz: DANCE
Blake's Barn
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 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, 60 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.

Other Activities at Jacob's Pillow

The 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.

Free Guided Tours
Welcome Center
Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30pm
During the Festival, free guided tours of the 163-acre campus leave from the Welcome Center and offer visitors a casual, informative look at the extensive history that occurred on the Jacob's Pillow grounds. Everyone is invited to see what makes Jacob's Pillow a National Historic Landmark. Plus, patrons can pick up a self-guided tour map anytime to explore the grounds on their own.

Classes and Observations
Patrons are also welcome to visit The School at Jacob's Pillow and observe renowned artist faculty working with emerging professional dancers, either on a drop-in basis or pre-arranged for groups larger than four. Dance and Pilates classes are offered to the public Mondays through Fridays at 8am and are open to all experience levels (class fee required). Master classes with artists of the Doris Duke Theatre are offered every Sunday at 10am for intermediate to advanced dancers (class fee required). Master classes are also open for public observation, without charge. For Community Class information call 413.243.9919.

Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the historic Tea Garden, where Ted Shawn's Men Dancers welcomed the first Pillow audiences in the 1930s. They can also picnic on the grounds or stroll through several ecological zones on the Wetlands Trail, created as part of the Pillow's responsible stewardship of its rural environment.

Jacob's Pillow offers many dining options including the Pillow Café, a full-service open air restaurant on the Great Lawn; the Pillow Pub offering casual fare, ready-to-go picnics, and a full bar; the Coffee & Ice Cream Bars, and catering services for groups and events.

The Pillow Store
Visitors can shop onsite for logo items, clothes, gifts, books, and music; all proceeds benefit Jacob's Pillow.

Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 79th anniversary in 2011, is a National Historic Landmark and home to America's longest running international dance festival. The Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 300 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various departments of arts administration and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and video. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and more than 200 free public events. Through Jacob's Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally-recognized program, artist-educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming existing curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Choreography commissions; Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; and the annual $25,000 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award all support visionary choreographers. Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob's Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and mobile social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive, an online video collection of dance highlights from 1937 through 2010, is a new resource with a curated selection of videos by artists who have performed at Jacob's Pillow over the past seven decades. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government. Jacob's Pillow is the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award.

As of July 2, 2011, support for Jacob's Pillow has been provided by:
Foundations: The American-Scandinavian Foundation; Arch W. Shaw Foundation; Asian Cultural Council; The Barrington Foundation; Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation through the Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence and The Central Berkshire Fund; Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundation; Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Frances Alexander Family Fund; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Harkness Foundation for Dance; Jerome Robbins Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Korean Cultural Service, New York; The Kresge Foundation; Leading for the Future Initiative, a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Marshall Frankel Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; The National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NDP is supported by lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust); Neal Rantoul Foundation; The O'Neill Foundation; Princeton University; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Québec Delegation to New England; RoBert Wood Johnson Foundation; The Royal Norwegian Consulate General, New York; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Spingold Foundation, Inc.; The Thompson Family Foundation; and The T. Backer Fund. Government: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a Program of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Mass Humanities, State-based Affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; and Pittsfield Cultural Council. Corporate: ALEX®; Berkshire Bank; Clark and Green; Cranwell; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; LEGO Children's Fund; The Pilgrim Inn; Super 8 Motel Lee; and Wheatleigh. Funding for Inside/Out has been provided, in part, by Greylock Federal Credit Union, The Legacy Banks Foundation, and The TD Charitable Foundation. Endowment: 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. Jacob's Pillow is also grateful to its Members and Business Alliance for their ongoing support.

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