Jacob's Pillow is Becoming a Year-Round Dance Destination
Jacob's Pillow kicked off its annual summer dance festival this weekend, and with it, its 85th anniversary season. It's the first to be curated by new director Pamela Tatge, offering a glimpse of the direction in which she plans to lead the historic festival. But as of this morning, we have more than just a glimpse: We have a newly announced strategic plan for the Pillow's future.
It's called Vision '22, a five-year blueprint for taking the Pillow from a summer dance destination to a year-round center for dance creation. In a press release, Tatge said, "Vision '22 will help us strengthen our artistic core, boost our civic leadership and community involvement, and renew essential campus facilities."
So what exactly does that mean?
For starters, Pillow Lab will provide 10-15 customized residencies for dancemakers throughout the year. Based on the 2016-17 pilot residencies, which involved artists including Ronald K. Brown, John Heginbotham, Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez pursuing cross-genre creative projects, we're guessing that Pillow Lab will offer opportunities to artists working across an equally broad spectrum of dance.
Honji Wang and Sara Mearns perform"No. 1," a work in progress developed during a recent Pillow Lab pilot residency, during the Pillow's 85th Anniversary Gala. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.
And good news for aspiring dancemakers: There are plans for a new summer study program at The School of Jacob's Pillow focusing on emerging choreographers, beginning with the 2018 festival. Also in the works: workshops and conferences for dance professionals throughout the year, a new College Partnership Program granting additional access to the Lab and the Pillow's legendary Archives, and a choreographers' retreat.
The Pillow has also announced programs aimed at engaging nearby communities in the Berkshire County area, from school programs to discounted performance tickets for local dance students to a free transportation scheme to and from the Pillow for residents of nearby Pittsfield, MA.
To cap it off, there's a marked uptick in attention to facilities. Not only is the massive Perles Family Studio getting its grand opening in August, but there are also plans for additional housing, and for structural renovations to the Ted Shawn Theatre. (Not to worry, folks: The look of the building isn't changing anytime soon.)
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.
On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.
SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.