Dance-Theatre Work ‘Stardust’ by David Roussève/REALITY Premieres at Jacob’s Pillow

Scene from 'Stardust' (photo Steve Gunther)

Scene from ‘Stardust’ (photo Steve Gunther)

(BECKET, Mass.) – Bringing a contemporary variation on the traditional coming of age story, David Roussève/REALITY comes to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with the company’s latest dance-theatre work, Stardust, running from Wednesday, August 6, through Sunday, August 10, 2014, in the Doris Duke Theatre. The 80-minute piece explores the world of a young, gay, African-American man through arresting choreography; video projections including unanswered text messages sent by the work’s protagonist; original music by hip-hop fusion composer d. Sabela grimes; and classic songs interpreted by Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Mathis.

Poignant, riveting, and challenging, Stardust depicts a moving portrait of the struggle for love and acceptance. The engagement is a part of Jacob’s Pillow’s Weekend OUT, which encompasses a packed schedule of talks, performances, and special events taking place throughout the weekend.

Stardust explores the nature of intimacy in a technology-driven, furiously-paced world. Lush, elegant movement is juxtaposed with frenetic representations of the unseen-protagonist’s state of mind, utilizing spoken word, moments of emotional ferocity, and multiple movement styles including hip-hop and contemporary dance. Through the use of multimedia elements including stunning projections by Roussève’s longtime collaborator Cari Ann Shim Sham and mock-Skype conversations performed by Roussève, the story of an anguished teenager is told in conversational tones with moments of poignancy that provide a profound cathartic arc. Roussève’s work has been called “shattering dance theater” that “packs an authentically emotional wallop.” (Anna Kisselgoff for the New York Times)

While not autobiographical, like some of Roussève’s work, Stardust is intensely personal and the first work for REALITY in which Roussève does not perform a lead role. “While it is paramount that my work retain its emotional resonance, my giving the protagonist ‘voice’ only through short written text allows for a more fluid choreographic structure uninterrupted by the character monologues I usually deliver,” Roussève writes of this choice. “I am thrilled by this leap forward in my work.”

Scene from 'Stardust' Scene from 'Stardust' (photo Steve Gunther)

Scene from ‘Stardust’ Scene from ‘Stardust’ (photo Steve Gunther)

Stardust is a part of the Jacob’s Pillow Weekend OUT festivities which include talks, performances, and events throughout August 8-10. On Saturday afternoon, David Roussève will participate in a free PillowTalk at 4pm titled “Creating Stardust,” detailing the subject and making of his current work. Director of Preservation Norton Owen will lead a one-of-a-kind Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers tour of the historic grounds on Sunday, August 10 at noon, and patrons are encouraged to attend the informal book-club-like Audience Chat following the Sunday matinee of David Roussève/REALITY’s “Stardust.” Sunday’s events will also include a master class taught by Roussève which will be open to free observation in the Doris Duke Theatre at 10am and brunch at the Pillow Café from 11am-2pm.

Other highlights of the week include free Inside/Out performances by Texture Contemporary Ballet, principal Jonathan Porretta from Pacific Northwest Ballet in choreography by Molissa Fenley, swing dance group The Hell’s Kitchen Kilowatts, and dancers from the Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Scene from 'Stardust' (photo Yi-Chun Wu)

Scene from ‘Stardust’ (photo Yi-Chun Wu)

David Roussève has been the Artistic Director of REALITY since 1988, creating evening-length works that have toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America. David Roussève/REALITY made its Jacob’s Pillow debut in 2009 with Saudade, which toured to major spaces throughout the U.S. and later received the Lester Horton Award for Best Choreography. Roussève’s commissions include works for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Houston Ballet, Ballet Hispanico (in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning pianist Eddie Palmieri), and Dancing Wheels. Said to have a “remarkable flair for fusing storytelling, characterization and a deftly explosive movement style into deeply affecting statements of personal and social conscience,” (The Washington Post) he has been awarded with Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award, three Lester Horton Awards, and seven consecutive NEA Fellowships. Roussève is currently a Professor of Choreography and former Chair in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and most recently became Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Arts and Architecture.



David Roussève/REALITY in Stardust

Wednesday, August 6—Saturday, August 9, 8:15pm

Saturday, August 9 & Sunday, August 10, 2:15pm


Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before each performance

Tickets $22-38. Now on sale online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office. $19 Under 35 tickets are available for Friday, August 8.

Box Office hours: Sun, Mon, Tues, 11am-5pm; Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-8pm

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