Jacob's Pillow Announces a New Director
The beloved Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival just announced its new leader: Pamela Tatge. She’s a dynamic curator who directed the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University for 16 years. She brought in dance artists like Liz Lerman, Eiko Otake, Michelle Dorrance, Ronald K. Brown, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Faye Driscoll, Camille A. Brown, Nora Chipaumire, and many others.
"Ferocious Beauty: Genome" (2006) by Liz Lerman, developed under Pamela Tatge at Wesleyan, photo by Andrew Hoxey
Lerman, who has worked closely with Tatge, is happy about the appointment. “Pam is brilliant in how she works with artists,” she wrote in an email. “Anyone going to the Pillow can expect to be challenged to do their really best work. What is great about Pam is how she can gently put a floor under you to achieve your ideas, or prod you to exceed them. She gathers support for a project from unusual places and people. She helps you see it through. She asks big and small questions… She has strong opinions about art (yea!) and is open to influence in the most collaborative and thoughtful ways.”
Elaborating on Tatge’s approach, Lerman continued: “Emotion and intellect matter to her. And I suspect that she will tackle some of the really big questions of our time, both in the content of what she brings, and in the way she does it. She will make wonderful connections to the Berkshire community as well as to dance artists from around the world.”
One of Tatge’s achievements that reflect her visionary thinking is that she co-founded, along with former Jacob’s Pillow director Sam Miller, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. This is a graduate program at Wesleyan that nurtures curators of contemporary performance; it’s the first program to offer a masters' degree in performance curation.
This coming summer’s season has already been programmed by the Pillow's outgoing executive director Ella Baff, who is now a senior program officer at the Mellon Foundation in New York. Her sharp curatorial eye and spirit of inclusion strengthened the festival during her 17 years at the helm. Her warmth and enthusiasm helped make the Pillow a glorious place to visit. It was during Baff’s tenure that President Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a 2011 National Medal of Arts, making the festival the first dance presenting organization to receive this award.
Tatge assumes the position of executive director in April.
To be honest, we never tire of watching non-dancers tackle a day in the life of the pros. From athletes to average Joes, these videos always give us a good laugh, and they remind the rest of the world that a whole lot of work goes into every dance performance you see. But often times, these dancer-for-a-day videos don't fully understand the importance of training (i.e., you can't just throw on a pair of pointe shoes and give it a go).
That's why we're especially loving this video by Refinery29 that actually gets it. Lucie Fink, host of the R29 YouTube series Lucie For Hire , got a private lesson from American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, and it was endlessly entertaining.
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
We'd love to know what it is that has Pina Bausch, Rudolf Nureyev and Gerard Violette so amused, or what Toer van Schayk (far right) is thinking here, but one thing's for certain: We're terribly envious of the journalist (second from right) who got to be there when this shot was taken in 1986.
It's the end of a long rehearsal day for the dancers of Abraham.In.Motion. They're reviewing phrases of a new work, Dearest Home. It's a pretty typical rehearsal scene. Some dancers cluster around a laptop trying to piece together steps learned long ago. Others review choreography together, working to figure out who remembered which arms correctly.
What isn't typical: The company's director and choreographer, Kyle Abraham, is nowhere to be seen.
That's because while the company is based in New York City full-time, Abraham spends most of his year teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he joined the faculty last September. It's an unconventional model for a single-choreographer–led troupe, almost functioning like a repertory company in which choreographers drop in for a week to set a piece, leaving it up to the rehearsal directors and dancers to keep the momentum going.
La Scala Ballet has a knack for snagging exceptional guest artists, and the company's rare West Coast appearance this weekend at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is no exception. Principal dancer étoile Roberto Bolle will partner both Misty Copeland and Marianela Nuñez in Giselle. And in an extra international twist, they'll be accompanied by the Mikhailovsky Orchestra for the engagement. July 28–30. scfta.org.
Serious dancers interested in musical theater face a difficult choice when applying to college: Should you major in dance or musical theater? "You can make a career following either pathway," says Lynne Formato, associate professor of performing arts at Elon University. If you choose to go the musical theater route, find a program that will challenge your dance technique: