Nestled in the Berkshire Mountains, Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historic Landmark and world-renowned dance center, each summer celebrates the art of dance with a handful of programs. The center offers a summer dance school, a residency program for aspiring choreographers, and year-round community programs for Berkshire residents. And between June 19th and August 29th, artists from around the globe will congregate for the annual dance festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance.
The 78th festival features over fifty companies from nine different countries. Dancers and choreographers tackle themes of love, relationships, humor, history, culture, social issues, and science. Styles ranging from classical to contemporary will share stages and audiences. Different art forms interact as choreographers present dance with film, photography, theater, and live music.
Season highlights include the United States debut of The Göteborg Ballet of Sweden. This company of classically trained dancers will perform 3xBoléro, three works inspired by Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. The Pinchet Klunchun Dance Company will premiere Chui Chai (Transformation), combining traditional Thai dance with contemporary movement to create “a world of ancient beauty and drama that is juxtaposed with elements of modernity,” according to Jacob’s Pillow. Armitage Gone! Dance led by Karole Armitage will perform Three Theories. Inspired by The Elegant Universe, a book by physicist Brian Greene, this new work combines music, dance, text, and images.
The festival schedule is accented by special events. The Season Opening Gala on June 19th benefits the artistic and educational programs at Jacob’s Pillow. A special performance will feature guest performers and students from The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Silent and live auctions will be held on the Pillow’s Green Lawn and the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award will be presented. On July 4th, a new event, Let’s Dance! at the Pillow, will encourage audience participation. The morning will be filled with free performances, open dance classes for teens and adults, food, drink, and music. On August 22nd, students from the Jazz/Musical Theatre will join Broadway stars and a live jazz band on stage for A Jazz Happening.
More informal events will also take place. The Inside/Out series presents free performances every Wednesday through Saturday at 6:15 pm. This outdoor venue showcases companies performing against the backdrop of the Berkshires. The Archives provide an opportunity to view performance videos and peruse the selection of dance related books. Dancers, choreographers, and musicians share their experiences during PillowTalks, held on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Early morning dance and Pilates classes are available for a nominal fee. Classes can also be observed free of charge.
Through the festival, Jacob’s Pillow aims to carry out a dual mission—to support dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation; and to engage and deepen public appreciation and support for dance. Says Jacob’s Pillow executive director, Ella Baff, “This is a very exciting festival coming up, where audiences will see a phenomenal range of imagination, style, form, subject matter, geographic scope, and let’s not forget, spectacular dancing.”