Jacob’s Pillow to become dance world’s global village

A microcosm of the world of dance will once again be created at Jacob’s Pillow this year.

A microcosm of the world of dance will once again be created at Jacob’s Pillow this year. From June 14 to Aug. 24, 20 dance ensembles of all kinds, along with musicians, visual artists and filmmakers, will travel from Africa, Europe, Japan and the Americas for 10 weeks of performances in the Berkshire hills.

And, as usual, there is a bundle of unknowns, many never seen in the United States. They will mix up the bill that is sprinkled with some of the dance world’s more renowned ensembles, including Garth Fagan Dance, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Newcomers include England’s Hofesh Shechter Company and Japan’s Ko & Edge Company. The Pillow will host France’s Compagnie Heddy Maalem in a remake of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Teatro di Piazza o d’Occasione of Italy performing two programs. Conny Janssen Danst will visit from the Netherlands and Shantala Shivalingappa will arrive from India.

Ella Baff, executive director at the Pillow, called the festival’s 76th season “an intensely colorful kaleidoscope of extraordinary artists.”

“This is why I love the Pillow,” she added. “There are always artists who people have never heard of, don’t know how to pronounce or spell their names, but people come to see them. That is the reason for the Pillow.”

Baff said that in creating the schedule, she adhered to a few guiding principles: new works, live music, exclusive programs and, for the first time, film/video and visual artists.


Live music will be offered for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s “Chapel/Chapter.” The piece, performed in the round, features music by Jones’ frequent collaborator, Daniel Bernard Roumain. The musical ensemble will consist of classical singers and a cellist. Baff booked it for a two-week run, a rarity at the Pillow, which usually presents companies in one-week blocks.

“The piece is so powerful. But in most theaters, it is shown in a proscenium situation. But the best way to experience it is in the round,” said Baff. “But not enough people can see it that way. So we will have it for two weeks.”

Another group featuring live music is Hofesh Shechter Company. The choreographer composed the music for “In your rooms,” which is set to be staged as part of the company’s U.S. debut.

Kate Weare Company will be teamed with soloist Maureen Fleming in a program that is exclusive to the Pillow. Weare will offer a world premiere, “Bridge of Sighs,” while Fleming will dance her mesmerizing signature, “The Stairs.”

Offering a U.S. premiere will be Mimulus, a Brazilian company that was a favorite from last season.

“It’s a little naughty,” said Baff of Mimulus’ new “Dolores.” “They are also so winning and generous when they perform.”

Stockholm 59 North will bring the world premiere of “Cicada” by choreographer Christina Caprioli. The group, made up of soloists from the Royal Swedish Ballet, will also dance works by Mats Ek and Nacho Duato. Like the pairing of Weare and Fleming, the Stockholm artists are appearing exclusively at the Pillow.

The season will get its start with Garth Fagan Dance resetting its evening-length “Griot New York.” The important work, with a commissioned score by Wynton Marsalis, has been hailed as Fagan’s greatest and is not often seen. The dance that explores urban life is backed up by a gigantic set by sculptor Martin Puryear.

Baff also pointed to Lar Lubovitch celebrating his company’s 40th anniversary. For the event, the choreographer has invited Rasta Thomas, one of America’s greatest independent dancers. The ensemble will revive Lubovitch’s “Concerto 622,” “Little Rhapsodies” and “Dvorak Serenade.”

As for the visual arts, many of the companies will showcase artwork, film or video. Compagnie Heddy Maalem will offer a film by Benoit Dervaux as part of its “Rite of Spring.” Boyz Ballet dances with video of their rehearsals as a backdrop. And photographer David Michalek will have a special exhibition/performance in the Doris Duke Theater. The husband of ballerina Wendy Whelan will present his “Slow Dancing,” videos in which dancing by Jill Johnson and Shivalingappa will be drawn out to hyper-slow-motion so every gesture is magnified.

Finally, choreographer Trey McIntyre has formed a permanent company that will make its debut in August. McIntyre used to work with a pickup company, booking gigs project-to-project. He decided last year to make the leap to full-time artistic director.

“Trey’s a young choreographer who took a few chances at the Pillow,” Baff said. “He was a big hit and in demand. He’s come back to have more success at the Pillow. So it’s nice that he will officially launch his company here.”


Show times are at 8 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $58. There is a $10 matinee youth ticket to Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

June 18 to 22: Garth Fagan Dance in “Griot New York”

June 25 to 29: Compagnie Heddy Maalem in “The Rite of Spring” with French filmmaker Benoit Dervaux

July 2 to 6: Lar Lubovitch Dance Company with Rasta Thomas

July 9 to 13: Hofesh Shechter Company

July 16 to 20: Ballet Boyz

July 23 to 27: Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet

July 30 to Aug. 3: Mimulus

Aug. 6 to 10: Stockholm 59° North

Aug. 13 to 17: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Aug. 20 to 24: Trey McIntyre Project


Show times are 8:15 Thursday and Friday, 2:15 and 8:15 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. T.P.O. has two programs. Its times are 2:15, 4:15 and 8:15 p.m. Thursday, 4:15 and 8:15 p.m. Friday, 11:15 a.m., 2:15 and 8:15 p.m. Saturday and 2:15 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $45 for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane. $29 all other shows. There is a $10 matinee youth ticket to T.P.O., Conny Janssen Danst and Shantala Shivalingappa.

June 26 to 29 and July 3 to 6: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in “Chapel/Chapter”

July 10 to 13: Natural Dance Theatre and Ko & Edge Company

July 17 to 20: T.P.O. (Teatro di Piazza o d’Occasione) in two separate programs

July 24 to 27: Conny Janssen Danst

July 31 to Aug. 3: David Michalek’s “Slow Dancing” with Jill Johnson and Shantala Shivalingappa

Aug. 7 to 10: Shantala Shivalingappa

Aug. 14 to 17: Kate Weare Company and Maureen Fleming

Aug. 21 to 24: Keigwin + Company


June 14: Gala with cocktails, dinner and performance with Garth Fagan Dance, Bill T. Jones and dancers from the ballet program at the School at Jacob’s Pillow.

July 20: Jacob’s Pillow Community Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free.

Aug. 17: A Jazz Happening, 8 p.m. $100.


Subscriptions are available for purchase beginning Monday. Single tickets for members go on sale on March 31. All other tickets will be released on April 7. More ticket information is available at 413-243-0745 or at www.jacobspillow.org.

Categories: Life and Arts

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