Canada's Ballet BC to Open Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2015, 6/24-28

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival opens its 83rd season with Canada's premier contemporary ballet company, Ballet BC, presenting a diverse program in the Ted Shawn Theatre, June 24-28. Led by Artistic Director Emily Molnar, former soloist of Ballet Frankfurt and principal of Ballet BC, the company performs works filled with intensity and technical prowess. The program includes workwithinwork by the prolific William Forsythe, Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto's sleek and edgy Twenty Eight Thousand Waves, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Consagración set to Igor Stravinsky's landmark score, "The Rite of Spring".

"Ballet BC creates intensity, elegance, and excitement on stage," says Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Ella Baff. "The dancers are spectacular and they will perform a program that shows why this company has distinguished itself as one of the best on the international dance scene."

Comprised of a select group of 18 uniquely talented and classically trained dancers, Ballet BC works with top Canadian and international choreographers to inspire innovation and collaboration. The company hallmark is incorporating their formidable ballet technique into unconventional works, pushing the boundaries of the classical idiom. Molnar explains her efforts to ensure the future of dance as a growing art form in an interview with Michael Crabb of Pointe Magazine: "My biggest responsibility is to cultivate potential, to provide a productive environment where the dancers can grow...Our work today focuses on new movement invention."

The program opens with William Forsythe's workwithinwork, a superb example of Forsythe's reorientation of the classical ballet repertoire to a dynamic twenty-first century art form. An American choreographer currently based in Frankfurt, Germany, Forsythe is best known for his work as the former director of Ballet Frankfurt (1984-2004) and founder and director of The Forsythe Company (2005-present). Set to Luciano Berio's haunting "Duetti per due violini", workwithinwork extends beyond ballet's usual conventions with fifteen dancers fading in and out of short solos, pas de deux, and ensemble groupings. "Spare and exacting, a physical response to the complex, spiky rhythms, mosquito-buzz speed, and atonal melodies of Berio's music" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times), workwithinwork flaunts the expansive range of motion, demand for impeccable technique, and virtuosic strength of the company.

A full company reimagining of Vaslav Nijinsky's famed The Rite of Spring, also set to composer Igor Stravinsky's iconic score, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Consagración expresses fleeting innocence lost in transition from childhood to adulthood. To be seen at the Pillow following its world premiere in May of 2015, the work explores the concept of universal awakening while taking a twenty-first century perspective on themes of the work's origin of ritualistic sacrifice. One of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" of 2012, Sansano is the former artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater which performed at Jacob's Pillow in 2012, as well as a former faculty member of the Contemporary Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow in 2013.

Ballet BC will close their program with Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto's Twenty Eight Thousand Waves. Set to a haunting score by Bryce Dessner of indie-rock band The National and 2008 Pulitzer Prize recipient David Lang, the work features exhilarating, adrenaline-driven movement and endlessly innovative partnering. Lauded for his "lyrical, ingenious choreography" (Judith Mackrell, The Guardian) and "abundance of originality" (Dance Europe), Cayetano Soto was named Ballet BC's Resident Choreographer in 2015.

Founded in 1986 and under Artistic Director Emily Molnar's leadership since 2009, Ballet BC is Canada's acclaimed contemporary ballet company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company consists of a select group of 18 uniquely talented dancers with exceptional classical and contemporary dance training. Molnar is an internationally respected and critically acclaimed artist who has worked and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Since 2009, the company's repertoire has grown to include the works of acclaimed Canadian and international choreographers including works by Jorma Elo, Crystal Pite, Johan Inger, Nicolo Fonte, Wen Wei Wang, and Aszure Barton among many others. Kaija Pepper of Dance Magazine notes that "Ballet BC is physically rigorous, dramatically solid, and truly contemporary. The company brings today's global dance conversation to Vancouver, British Columbia, like never before."

Artistic Director Emily Molnar will teach a master class to participants of the Ballet Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow on June 25 and will serve as a guest choreographer in the Contemporary Program July 26-August 2. A new addition to the company, Scott Fowler is an alumnus of the Ballet Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow. Ballet BC appeared most recently at the Pillow during Festival 2013 in the Ted Shawn Theatre.

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET INFORMATION:

Ballet BC
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, June 24 through Saturday June 27 at 8pm
Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 at 2pm

· Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe are offered in Blake's Barn 30 minutes before every performance.

· A Post-Show Q&A with Artistic Director, Emily Molnar and a Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence will take place onstage on Friday, June 26.

· Tickets $39-$75. Now on sale online at jacobspillow.org, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob's Pillow Box Office. A limited number of $19 Under 35 Friday tickets are available for June 26; limit 2 per person, must be between the ages of 18 and 35.

· Box Office Hours: Sunday through Tuesday, 10am-5pm, Wednesday through Saturday 11am-8pm.

· 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 theatres are handicapped-accessible.

Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 83rd Festival in 2015, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest-running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, 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 Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and an extensive schedule of 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 curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; choreography commissions; and the annual $25,000 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award all support visionary dance artists and choreographers. Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive is a curated online video collection of dance highlights from 1936 to today. 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, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

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