The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Jun. 22, 2012
Presenter  Topics
Now in its 80th year, Jacob’s Pillow Dance festival opens (June 18 – August 26, 2012)
America’s time-honored dance festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Recognized not only for its program of performances but also for its contributions to dance through creative projects, residencies, educational programs and research, the festival received a National Medal of Arts from President Obama last year. Again this year the festival provides a program of performances of domestic and foreign works, free outdoor stages in the woods in the “Inside/Out” program and “The School at Jacob’s Pillow” that had nurtured so many top-level artists on today’s dance scene. There is also a full schedule of artist talks and symposiums.
There are 22 works on the main program. The festival opens with gala performances by David Hallberg, who became the focus of much attention by emerging from American ballet to become a principal in the Bolshoi Ballet Company, Brazil’s Mimulus Dance Company and the Australian circus group Circa. A mid-festival highlight is The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth featuring a number of the leading male artists on the cutting edge of the American dance scene in an homage to festival’s founder, Ted Shawn.
Bill T. Jones presents Story/Time, personally narrating 70 stories inspired by John Cage’s Indeterminacy and danced by his company’s dancers. Mimulus presents the work Por Um Filo combining Latin dance like samba with contemporary elements, while the French and Brazilian company Compangie Käfig performs the works Correrirîa and Agwa combining samba, hip-hop and capoeira dance styles.
There are three foreign companies appearing for the first time at the festival. Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company presents Mana combining waltz, jazz and Klezmer music with athletic and dramatic dance. Also from Israel, LeeSaar The Company uses dancers from Taiwan, Korea and Israel in its newest work FAME that blurs the line between reality and perception, and Circa presents an acrobatic mix of circus and contemporary dance.
As the winner of the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow Award by audience request, the work Dark Matters choreographed and directed by Crystal Pite that skillfully combines puppetry and dance will be performed.
Other performances come from the popular American companies Morphoses, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Jessica Lang Dance, Trey McIntyre Project, Dance Heginbotham, Jonah Bokaer & David Hallberg and Liz Gerring Dance Company. The classical ballet program includes performances by the Hong Kong Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet companies.
The Inside/Out program includes 40 performances by both young and established artists as well as performances from the school program.

Festival Outline
The festival takes its name from the historical Jacob’s Pillow farm cleared in the 18th century on a hilltop along the stagecoach line that connected Boston and Albany. Choreographer Ted Shawn purchased the farm in 1930, and the public lecture series he started there in 1933 became the origins of the festival. By the 1940s Shawn’s gatherings had already evolved into an international dance festival. The Ted Shawn Theater built here in 1942 as the first dedicated dance theater in America remains one the festival’s main venues to this day. Facilities grew to include other theaters, studios and cafßs. Each year approximately 50 companies perform in the festival. The festival schedule consists of about 150 program events, including lessons taught by the dancers, talk sessions, a photography exhibition and more. Also, the outdoor theater the Inside/Out program presents performances by students of The School at Jacob's Pillow, which has produced such famous graduates as Meredith Monk, and other free performances by emerging artists.
See also “Arts Organization of the Month” on this website.
+Jacob’s Pillow Dance