Jacob's Pillow Announces Its 2017 Lineup
It's only December 14, but this morning we received an early Christmas gift: Jacob's Pillow Dance announced the programming for its 85th season. After perusing the long list of world premieres, commissions and special engagements, we've definitely started filling in our summer dance calendar. Here are some of the highlights we're looking forward to.
Camille A. Brown outside of the Pillow's famous Ted Shawn Theatre. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.
Women who lead: In a world where female choreographers and directors are all too often added to programming to fill a quota, the Pillow's new director, Pamela Tatge, makes a strong statement with this summer's lineup. Eleven groups with women artistic directors will take the stage. And with names like Lourdes Lopez, Danielle Agami, Julie Kent and Camille A. Brown, it's clear they have the chops to be there. We're hoping this signals a larger trend in future programming arranged by Tatge.
A brand-new "tap experience" from Michelle Dorrance: The longtime Pillow darling and tapper extraordinaire will return to the Berkshires with TIRELESS: A Tap Dance Experience. Curated by Dorrance, the program will showcase a diversity of tap talent from the U.S. and beyond. Performances will feature tapper Reona Seo and bassist Takishi Seo from Japan; a group piece by Chicago's Jumaane Taylor; solo work from San Francisco–based Joe Orrach; and sibling duo Joseph and Josette Wiggan from L.A. Any lineup handpicked by Dorrance is sure to impress.
The Principles of Uncertainty. Photo by Adrienne Bryant, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.
Cool collaborations: The world premiere of The Principles of Uncertainty, a co-commission between Jacob's Pillow and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, melds the movement of downtown choreographer John Heginbotham with the writings and illustrations of Maira Kalman. This new dance theater work will feature Dance Heginbotham, an original score by Brooklyn Rider and the Silk Road Ensemble's Colin Jacobsen, and live music. One of the year's hottest collaborations, Jonah Bokaer's Rules Of The Game, featuring a score by Pharrell Williams, is also on tap.
Compagnie Marie Chouinard. Photo by Chouinard, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.
International appeal: Jacob's Pillow continues its tradition of bringing the best in international dance to Becket, Massachusetts. This summer will include visits from Israeli company Roy Assaf Dance in its American debut; the experimental Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Canada; flamenco troupe Compañía Irene Rodríguez direct from Cuba; and contemporary/Indian dancer Aakash Odedra from the UK.
A dance for your dog: Yes, you read that correctly. On August 26, the Pillow's Great Lawn will transform into a canine haven. Participants and their pets will be led through a dance experience and all donations will benefit the Berkshire Human Society. (B.Y.O. dog.)
For more details about the 2017 festival, click here.
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:
The 2017 Princess Grace Award winners have just been announced! Over the years, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA has demonstrated a knack for picking out future stars in the dance world, so it should be no surprise that several of the honorees are familiar names.
It's well known that Robert Rauschenberg, one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century, made costumes and sets for Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and Trisha Brown. What you may not know is that he also choreographed and danced in many performances of his own devising. You can see evidence of them among the vast amount of paintings, sculptures and collages at the exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art called Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends.