The Restless Creature Finally Makes Her Move(s)

posted by Kina Poon on Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013
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Photo by Nisian Hughes, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

Tonight’s the night—Wendy Whelan’s Restless Creature has its world premiere at Jacob’s Pillow. We’ve been anticipating this program, which pairs the incomparable ballerina with four contemporary choreographers in a series of duets, since we heard the first whispers of its existence last year. (See our August "Dance Matters," which mentions the evening is scheduled for a 10-city tour through 2014.)

However, if you’re like us, you're currently a hundred (or maybe thousands of) miles away from the Berkshires. How lucky, then that the Pillow is so brilliant at bringing the festival to the world at large—electronically.

About a month ago, I visited the Pillow to speak on a lively Pillow Talk titled “CN U TWEET REVUS?” about how dance criticism and other forms of dance writing (like, uh, this blog I’m typing now) have expanded online. (Deborah Jowitt and Philip Szporer spoke eloquently about the impact of the web as media consumption changes; we were moderated expertly by Pillow scholar-in-residence Maura Keefe.) The meta element was that the talk was live tweeted—many of the Pillow Talks are—tagged by #talkdance.

Tonight, post-Restless Creature premiere, you can follow along at the Audience Chat using #talkdance even if you can’t be there in person. (We certainly will be.)

Then this Friday, two of the most brilliant minds in filming dance—Pillow videographer Nel Shelby, who has made four beautiful short films for each duet which you can watch here, and NYCB’s Ellen Bar—will share their work. (Again, you can follow along using #talkdance.)

Of course, technology cannot replicate the magic of live performance—or fully convey how the Pillow itself is the ultimate dance haven. During my trip, in just over 24 hours, I managed to catch the glorious Shantala Shivalingappa, the fearless dancers of Cedar Lake, and the talented students in the commercial dance intensive in five classes, rehearsals, and performances—plus enjoy three photo exhibits and a few hours with the treasures in the Pillow archives. (A taste here.) This weekend, in addition to Restless, the Jazz/Musical Theatre students and La Otra Orilla, a flamenco tour-de-force, will perform—the latter even gives a master class, and other companies grace the stunning Inside/Out stage for free all week.

But since we’re here in NYC, we’ll settle for what we can get via our internet connection. A big merde to Whelan, Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo.

And after you've viewed the Pillow videos, here's one more gem: check out our own Wendy (Perron) interviewing Wendy Whelan for our “Choreography in Focus” series.