Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 2009 season will once again showcase the best in global dance. The 77th festival will stage a diversity of dance, from ballet to tap, that hails from nearby cities and far-flung locations such as Taiwan and Slovenia.
Highlights will include the 90th birthday bash for contemporary dance guru Merce Cunningham with a retrospective program of three masterworks, an exclusive all-Ulysses Dove program performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet and a two-week run featuring rhythm hoofer Jason Samuels Smith performing with a live band.
The season, which runs from June 24 to Aug. 30, will begin on the main stage with Mujeres, a flamenco program featuring bailaoras Belén Maya and Rocio Molina. The Spanish dancers will be joined by an ensemble of guitarists, percussionists and singers.
The following week, the more intimate Doris Duke Theatre will open with LAFA & Artists, a Taiwanese company making their U.S. debut. Led by former Martha Graham dancer Fang-Yi Sheu, the company will present two stateside premieres that demonstrate its acrobatic and theatrical bent. Unlike in years past, the Duke theater openings have been moved to correspond with the Shawn Theatre’s. Both will start their engagements on Wednesdays.
As usual, music, much of it live, will play a large part of the season. Ballet Maribor from Slovenia will present its modern-day take on “Romeo and Juliet” in “Radio and Juliet.” The piece, choreographed by Romanian dancer Edward Clug, is inspired by the music of Radiohead.
Live music will accompany Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in its world premiere of “Orbo Novo.” Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherakoui, the piece will feature a piano and string composition by Szymon Brzoska.
Other premieres will be offered by Groupe Emile Dubois from France. The company’s first show in the U.S. in nearly
20 years, the weeklong stay in the Berkshires will showcase Jean-Claude Gallotta’s “Des gens qui dansent.”
In addition to the Cunningham anniversary, the Pillow will also celebrate the 50th year for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. The bill will include two works by Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti.
The season will also include a week with Ballet Hispanico, dancing its Latin-tinged works as well as Rennie Harris Puremovement, a company that blazes across the stage in narratives told in the language of hip-hop: popping, locking and electric boogaloo.
“We are thrilled to present such a diverse group of talented, ground-breaking and important artists this season,” said Ella Baff, executive director of the Pillow. “There is truly something for everybody.”
In the Ted Shawn Theatre
June 24 to 28: Mujeres
July 1 to 5: “Radio and Juliet” by Ballet Maribor
July 8 to 12: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
July 15 to 19: Groupe Emile Dubois
July 22 to 26: Merce Cunningham Dance Company
July 29 to Aug. 2: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal
Aug. 5 to 9: Rennie Harris Puremovment
Aug. 12 to 16: Doug Varone and Dancers
Aug. 19 to 23: Pacific Northwest Ballet
Aug. 23: A Jazz Happening
Aug. 26 to 30: Ballet Hispanico
Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $58, $53 for seniors, students and children. There is a $10 youth ticket to matinees for Mujeres, Groupe Emile Dubois, Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. The Jazz Happening is at 8 p.m. Tickets for this event, a benefit for The School at Jacob’s Pillow with such artists as Donna McKechnie and Andrea McArdle, are $100 with the reception and $60 for the performance only.
In the Doris Duke Theatre
July 1 to 5: LAFA & Artists
July 8 to 12: Gallim Dance
July 15 to 19: David Roussève/REALITY
July 22 to 26 and July 29 to Aug. 2: Jason Samuels Smith and A.C.G.I. (Anybody Can Get It)
Aug. 5 to 9: Jacinta Vlach/Liberation Dance Theater
Aug. 12 to 16: Rubberbandance Group
Aug. 19 to 23: Kidd Pivot
Aug. 26 to 30: Doug Elkins and Friends’ Fräulein Maria
Show times are 8:15 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 2:15 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $33, $30 for seniors, students and children. There is a $10 youth ticket to matinees for Jason Samuels Smith.
In addition to the paid programs in the theater, the Pillow also offers 200 free programs — performances, talks, tours and exhibitions. Among the free events is its annual Community Day. That is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, July 26.
Tickets and subscriptions are available at (413) 243-9919 or at www.jacobspillow.org. The box office opens on Monday, March 2. The box office can be reached at (413) 243-0745.