Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Announces 2016 Lineup
Following the critical acclaim and record-breaking ticket sales and attendance of Festival 2015, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival will soon kick-off a new season of exciting programming featuring International Artists, world premieres, an impressive number of engagements set to live music, and more than 200 free performances, talks, and exhibits.
Expanding upon its robust community programming, the Pillow will now also hold open-level classes with Inside/Out artists throughout the Festival, a first-time offering this season. The 2016 season signals an exciting new era in Pillow history, as new Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge takes the helm of the organization.
"I'm excited to have the chance to personally welcome Pillow audiences to a Festival of great breadth-companies from across the globe with performances set to an incredible range of live music," says Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. "I look forward to experiencing, alongside our audience, the many ways the Pillow deepens our engagement with dance, from the endless resources in the Archives, to PillowTalks with our accomplished scholars and our ever-growing variety of community classes. And of course, the 250 free events, including more than thirty companies on the Inside/Out stage, all of it against the backdrop of this magnificent landscape."
Highlights of Festival 2016 include a world premiere engagement And Still You Must Swing created by tap dance powerhouses Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith; former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in an evening of new duets and solos, accompanied by eminent string quartet Brooklyn Rider and titled Some of a Thousand Words; rare U.S. appearances by France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI and South Korea-based contemporary ensemble Bereishit Dance Company; the powerful all-male company Che Malambo of Argentina; and the return of the eminent Seattle-based company Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Tickets are on sale to the public through the Box Office at 413.243.0745 or online at jacobspillow.org.
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. This season, dance companies from across the U.S. and around the globe travel to Becket, Massachusetts to take part in the 84th annual Festival. Festival 2016 international companies include Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart from Germany, France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI with dancers from Algeria and Burkina Faso, among others previously mentioned. American companies hail from Aspen, CO and Santa Fe, NM (Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Juan Siddi Flamenco Sante Fe); Chicago, IL (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street 2); Seattle, WA (Pacific Northwest Ballet); Philadelphia, PA (BalletX); and New York City (ZviDance, ARIAS Company, Dorrance Dance, Pam Tanowitz Dance, FLEXN, and others).
Festival 2016 features the most live music in recent years, prevalent throughout the season and featured in no less than half of all Festival engagements including Juan Siddi Flamenco Sante Fe, Pam Tanowitz Dance and FLUX Quartet, Dorrance Dance, Bereishit Dance Company, BalletX, And Still You Must Swing, New York Theatre Ballet, Souleymane "Solo" Badolo, and Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks with Brooklyn Rider, among others. The Pillow is committed to presenting and commissioning new work; Festival 2016 features many world premiere engagements including evening-length works by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant; and Bryan Arias. Jacob's Pillow co-commissions include a work for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet by Cayetano Soto and a world premiere by Jessica Lang performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet. Many Festival 2016 artists have also developed work during Creative Development Residencies at Jacob's Pillow, including Michelle Dorrance, Bryan Arias, and Adam H. Weinert.
Throughout the Festival, more than 200 events including performances, talks, tours, exhibits, films, classes, and community events are free and open to the public. Presenting both emerging and esteemed dance artists from across the U.S., Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's Inside/Out performance series will return to the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage at the breathtaking Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space, every Wednesday through Saturday at 6:15pm, June 22-August 28. An essential part of the Pillow's mission and a beloved tradition, Inside/Out performances are free and open to the public, featuring family-friendly and diverse dance styles ranging from classical ballet and hip-hop to tap, and folkloric dance. New this year, the Pillow offers classes taught by Inside/Out artists in varying styles including swing dance, ballet, Gaga technique, and more.
Occurring twice a week during the Festival, PillowTalks are part of a free, curated series of entertaining and informative discussions with choreographers, writers, filmmakers, and cultural experts. Moderated by Pillow Scholars, PillowTalks provide an excellent opportunity to gain behind-the-scenes insight. This year's highlights feature talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning Sarah Kaufman, The New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert, and iconic dance photographer Lois Greenfield, among others.
This year, Jacob's Pillow extends the reach of the Festival beyond its grounds. Acclaimed Brooklyn-based Dance Company Urban Bush Women will host movement classes, lecture-demonstrations, and engagement activities for the community with a primary focus on teenage African-American girls in nearby Pittsfield and North Adams, MA. In collaboration with the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Dance Rules Everything Around Me (D.R.E.A.M.) will offer a day of workshops, discussions, and a performance/competition showcase with flex dance artists Reggie 'Regg Roc' Gray, Jason Cust, and 10 flex dancers on July 22. In addition to these classes, Bridgman | Packer Dance's mobile dance performance TRUCK will come to downtown Pittsfield, MA on June 16.
Free and open to the public daily throughout the Festival, Blake's Barn will feature an exclusive exhibition focusing on large format images by preeminent photographer Lois Greenfield. The exhibit shares its title, Moving Still, with a just released volume from Chronicle Books, Greenfield's first publication in nearly twenty years. Exhibited in the Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby, Building the Pillow will feature rare photos of the site's early development and evolution throughout the past century. Dance-related works of acclaimed artist Al Hirschfeld will be seen in Hirschfeld on the Move, featured in the Doris Duke Theatre Lobby to herald the availability of new Hirschfeld merchandise in The Pillow Store.
The artist faculty members of The School at Jacob's Pillow are as equally international and diversely experienced as the Festival artists. The 2016 Program Directors include ballet luminary Anna-Marie Holmes; Ailey School and Juilliard faculty member Milton Myers, who celebrates his 30th year of mentoring and coaching at The School at Jacob's Pillow; Broadway veteran, choreographer, and director Chet Walker; and the esteemed founder of Urban Bush Women, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
The Program Directors will be joined by dance artists, choreographers, and artistic directors from across the globe. The Ballet Program roster includes American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Xiomara Reyes, NBA Ballet Company Artistic Director Koichi Kubo, and former Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky, who will create a new work on program dancers for the season opening Gala. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar directs the new 2016 program entitled Improv Traditions & Innovations: From Ring Shout to Blues to Jazz. Program faculty includes Harvard University PhD candidate in African & African American Studies Lizzy Cooper Davis; two-time Fulbright Fellow Award recipient Nia Love; former company member and rehearsal director for Urban Bush Women, Chanon Judson; Artistic Director of Junebug Productions, Stephanie McKee; and choreographer, performer, and Urban Bush Women company member Samatha Speis. Contemporary Program Director Milton Myers leads a diversely talented faculty, including sought-after choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Atlanta Ballet Resident Choreographer Helen Pickett; Alonzo King LINES Ballet Master Arturo Fernandez, former Juilliard School faculty member Alphonse Poulin; and the Artistic Director of the Dance Division at The Juilliard School Lawrence Rhodes, among others.
A full schedule of festival events can be found here.