Wendy Whelan, Jason Samuels Smith, Michelle Dorrance, Zvidance and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Headline Jacob’s Pillow 2016 Season

Michelle Dorrance (photo Christopher Duggan)

Michelle Dorrance (photo Christopher Duggan)

(BECKET, Mass.) – A diverse season of international performances and dance styles, including tap, Latin, ballet, modern, swing, flamenco, and flex street dance with Wendy Whelan, Jason Samuels Smith, Michelle Dorrance, Zvidance and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is on tap for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in summer 2016. Ten of the 20 mainstage and second-stage dances will include live music.

Highlights of Festival 2016 include a world premiere engagement created by tap dance powerhouses Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith; former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in an evening of new duets and solos, accompanied by eminent string quartet Brooklyn Rider; rare U.S. appearances by France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI and Korea-based contemporary ensemble Bereishit Dance Company; the explosive Che Malambo of Argentina; and the return of the beloved Seattle-based company Pacific Northwest Ballet.

American companies hail from Aspen, Colo., and Santa Fe, New Mexico (Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Juan Siddi Flamenco Sante Fe); Chicago (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street 2); Seattle (Pacific Northwest Ballet); Philadelphia (BalletX); and New York City (ZviDance, ARIAS Company, Dorrance Dance, Pam Tanowitz Dance, FLEXN, and others).

Festival 2016 features the most live music in recent years, prevalent throughout the season and featured in no less than ten engagements including Juan Siddi Flamenco Sante Fe, Pam Tanowitz Dance and FLUX Quartet, Dorrance Dance, Bereishit Dance Company, BalletX, And Still You Must Swing, New York Theatre Ballet, Souleymane “Solo” Badolo, and Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks with Brooklyn Rider, among others.

The Pillow is committed to presenting and commissioning new work; Festival 2016 features many world premiere engagements including evening-length works by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant; and Bryan Arias. Jacob’s Pillow co-commissions include a work for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet by Cayetano Soto and a world premiere by Jessica Lang performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet. Many Festival 2016 artists have also developed work during Creative Development Residencies at Jacob’s Pillow, including Michelle Dorrance, Bryan Arias, and Adam H. Weinert.

Blake’s Barn will feature an exclusive exhibition focusing on large format images by pre-eminent photographer Lois Greenfield. The exhibit shares its title, Moving Still, with a just-released volume from Chronicle Books, Greenfield’s first publication in nearly twenty years.

The artist faculty members of The School at Jacob’s Pillow are as equally international and diversely experienced as the Festival artists. The 2016 Program Directors include ballet luminary Anna-Marie Holmes; Ailey School and Juilliard faculty member Milton Myers, who celebrates his 30th year of mentoring and coaching at The School at Jacob’s Pillow; Broadway veteran, choreographer, and director Chet Walker; and the esteemed founder of Urban Bush Women Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

Prior to the Festival, Jacob’s Pillow and MASS MoCA will co-present Festival 2016 artist ZviDance at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, Saturday, April 23 at 8pm. The program will feature a work-in-progress showing with segments of On the Road, a multimedia work that contemplates the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s.



Festival 2016 Schedule

Artist dates and descriptions follow. Select Festival artist descriptions include links to supplemental video clips within Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, featuring past Jacob’s Pillow performances.



Member Only Event June 11 and June 16 in Pittsfield, MA

Performed in the confines of a 17 foot box truck, Bridgman | Packer Dance’s visceral, site-specific work is an unconventional performance where dance, video projection, image, and reality collide. In this non-traditional, accessible performance aimed to bring dance to audiences of all backgrounds, Guggenheim Fellows in Choreography Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer create an evocative and humorous world which explores how context changes perception. TRUCK will be performed at a Members-Only event at Jacob’s Pillow on June 11, as part the City of Pittsfield’s Third Thursday community event on June 16, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Season Opening Gala on June 18.


Season Opening Gala, June 18, Ted Shawn Theatre

The exclusive Season Opening Gala event will include a special performance of Bridgman | Packer’s TRUCK, Festival 2016 artist Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Ballet Program in a world premiere created by former Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky, and other artists. This signature fundraising event also includes the presentation of the 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, the opening of a new Lois Greenfield exhibit, and both live and silent auctions, followed by dinner and dancing to live music by Bev Rohlehr and The Colbys and DJ BFG.


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet June 22-26, Ted Shawn Theatre

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet opens Festival 2016 in a program featuring the 13-member ensemble’s versatility and artistic range. Renowned for technical prowess and stunning performance, “the dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet seem as comfortable in acrobatic turns and loose limbed falls as they are in soaring grand jetés and crisp fouettés” (Janine Parker, The Boston Globe). The program includes an East Coast premiere of a Pillow-commissioned work by Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto, as well as Alejandro Cerrudo’s poetic Silent Ghost set to an alternative rock score including contemporary composers Dustin Hamman, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds, and Nils Frahm. Other works to be announced.

Related Video in Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in 2011:



Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe, June 22-26, Doris Duke Theatre

Led by dancer and Artistic Director Juan Siddi, the 14 dancers and musicians of Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe present a program of flamenco dance and powerful live music. Founded in Santa Fe in 2008 and in artistic partnership with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet since 2014, the company’s “physical bravado” and “fabulous footwork” (Emmaly Weiderholt, Santa Fe Reporter), captures the form’s rich cultural heritage and infuses it with a unique, contemporary flair. Virtuosic musicians and vocalists, many hailing from Spain, heighten the dramatic power of this electrifying ensemble.


Che Malambo, June 29-July 3, Ted Shawn Theatre

Founded in 2007 under the direction of renowned France-based ballet dancer and choreographer Gilles Brina, the Argentinian Che Malambo presents the traditional dance of South American cowboys (“gauchos”) in an evening of “rapid-fire rhythms” and “spinning boleadors” in a “rousing group spectacle” (Siobhan Burke, The New York Times). The company of 14 male dancers integrates live drumming and swift, intricate footwork in an evening-length display of the 17th century-styled competitive duel of Malambo, a test of strength, agility, and speed.


Bereishit Dance Company June 29-July 3, Doris Duke Theatre

In a rare U.S. appearance, Seoul-based Bereishit Dance Company makes its Jacob’s Pillow debut in a highly-physical program blending innovative partnering, extraordinary isolations, and moments of theatricality with a fresh perspective. Founded in 2000 by choreographer Soon-ho Park, the company presents the rigorous male duet BOW inspired by the sport of archery and the boundary between dance and athletics. The program also includes the “impressive and unforgettable” (Gesa Polert, Germany’s Rheinische Post) Balance and Imbalance, featuring clever interplay between the cast of five dancers and a pair of onstage traditional Korean drummers accompanied by a pansori singer.


Gauthier Dance, July 6-10, Ted Shawn Theatre

Following Festival 2015’s sold-out engagement in the Doris Duke Theatre, Germany-based Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart takes the Ted Shawn Theatre stage with their signature wit, charming edge, and stunning display of versatility. The program includes the return of emerging choreographer Po-Cheng Tsai’s theatrical Floating Flowers, Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili’s Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, and Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto’s CONRAZONCORAZON, created specifically for the company. The program will close with Mauro Bigonzetti’s tour-de-force Cantata with original and traditional music from southern Italy performed live onstage by Gruppo Musicale Assurd.

Related video on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive: Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart in 2015: http://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/gauthier-dancedance-company-theaterhaus-stuttgart/malasangre/


And Still You Must Swing, July 6-10, Doris Duke Theatre

Three of the world’s most celebrated tap luminaries come together in an evening of live music and tap dance in the world premiere And Still You Must Swing. Each returning to the Pillow after various standout performances, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards joins forces with Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith to present a dynamic project that captures the heart and legacy of tap dance, honoring the profound influence of jazz and beyond. The program embraces masterful technique, musicality, and improvisation, with a stellar cast and critically-acclaimed guest artists including Camille A. Brown.


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago  Second Company's performance of Mariko’s Magical Mix  (photo Todd Rosenberg)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Second Company’s performance of Mariko’s Magical Mix (photo Todd Rosenberg)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, July 13-17, Ted Shawn Theatre

An international force in contemporary dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago holds an unparalleled reputation for versatility, stunning technique, and compellin performances. Led by former Nederlands Dans Theater Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and now celebrating its 38th season, the company brings a program that exhibits its prowess and range “driven by energetic, charismatic dancers” (Janine Parker, The Boston Globe). They perform Sxolo Echo, a gripping interpretation of two Johannes Brahms sonatas for cello and piano, created by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award–winner and Artistic Director of Kidd Pivot, Crystal Pite. The program will also include master choreographer William Forsythe’s quartet N.N.N.N., a work of intricate pedestrian gestures and delightfully complex rhythms. Additional works to be announced.

Related video from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2010: http://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/hubbard-street-dance-chicago/untouched/


Hubbard Street 2 in Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure, July 13-17, Doris Duke Theatre

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s dynamic early-career ensemble, Hubbard Street 2, presents the imaginative voyage of a restless girl, Mariko, who finds inspiration from her mother’s vinyl records. In a quest for friendship and self-discovery, the young heroine sets off to explore a colorful world of dance and music conveyed through vibrant video projections and shadow puppetry. Created by Princess Grace Award–winning choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams in collaboration with designers and shadow puppeteers Manual Cinema, this family-friendly show brings compelling storytelling to Hubbard Street’s signature, superb performance quality. $10 youth tickets available for all performances.


BalletX, July 20-24, Ted Shawn Theatre

Founded in 2005 and directed by Christine Cox, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company BalletX brings co-founder Matthew Neenan’s and composer Rosie Langabeer’s dreamlike story ballet Sunset, o639 Hours to the Ted Shawn Theatre. Lauded as “one of the most appealing and singular choreographic voices in ballet today” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times), Neenan’s ballet interprets the tragic true story of pilot Edwin Musick’s 1938 inaugural airmail flight across the Pacific. The romantic narrative of bravery and loss is played out through “breezily inventive choreography” and is accompanied by “Langabeer’s evocative score” (Siobhan Burke, The New York Times), performed by a live cabaret-style band, illustrating the sights and sounds of pre-World War II days of New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii.


ZviDance, July 20-24, Doris Duke Theatre

Under the artistic vision of Israeli-born Zvi Gotheiner, ZviDance is widely-extolled for its hallmark of innovative works and lush movement. The company performs the dance triptych Escher/Bacon/Rothko in three distinct sections inspired by the artwork of twentieth-century masters M.C. Escher, Francis Bacon, and Mark Rothko. An evening-length work for 10 dancers, Gotheiner’s sweeping and intelligent choreography illuminates layers of connection in each artists’ notion of modernity, danced to a compelling original score by composer Scott Killian.


Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks, with Brooklyn Rider, July 27-31, Ted Shawn Theatre

Beloved for his “kinetic thrill and visual power” (Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post), choreographer Brian Brooks joins Wendy Whelan, a “riveting, interesting, unusual, intelligent” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times) former New York City Ballet principal dancer, for an evening of intimate solos and duets. The stunning pair returns to the Pillow following the 2013 premiere of Restless Creature with new dances of elegance and electricity. Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Greg Cahill, Strings Magazine), the remarkable New York City-based string quartet Brooklyn Rider performs live.

Related video from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, Restless Creature from 2013: http://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/wendy-whelan/first-fall-from-restless-creature/


ARIAS Company July 27 – July 31, Doris Duke Theatre

Praised as “an expressive young powerhouse dancer” (Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times), former Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) and current Kidd Pivot company member Bryan Arias now leads his own ensemble, ARIAS Company. Created during two Jacob’s Pillow Creative Development Residencies, the program features the world premiere of a rather lovely thing, a contemporary work that challenges notions of identity, bias, and stereotype, set to a score with music by Frédéric Chopin, Nico Muhly, and Max Richter, among others. A work for six talented dancers (including Arias himself), the esteemed roster includes Jermaine Spivey of The Forsythe Company and Kidd Pivot; Spenser Theberge of The Forsythe Company and NDT; Banning Bauldin of Cullberg Ballet and New Dialect; and Ana Maria Lucaciu of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.


Compagnie Hervé KOUBI , August 3-7, Ted Shawn Theatre

France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI makes a rare U.S. appearance in the Ted Shawn Theatre in the highly physical and awe-inspiring evening-length work What the Day Owes to the Night. Led by the artistic vision of French-Algerian choreographer and Aix Marseille faculty member Hervé Koubi, the all-male company is comprised of 12 dancers from Algeria and Burkina Faso who combine capoeira, martial arts, hip-hop, and contemporary dance with “mesmerizingly fluid strength” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times) and perform as if “there [is] no such thing as physics” (Rebecca Ritzel, The Washington Post).


New York Theatre Ballet, August 12-16, Doris Duke Theatre

Led by founder and Artistic Director Diana Byer, the bright chamber ballet ensemble New York Theatre Ballet brings a diverse range of works to the Doris Duke Theatre. The program includes what is considered to be one of Antony Tudor’s greatest masterpieces, Dark Elegies, an eloquent, somber ballet danced to Gustav Mahler’s song cycle “Kindertotenlieder”. Set to live musical accompaniment, contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz’s work Short Memory brings color and wit with “eccentric gestures” and “unpredictable yet convincing patterns” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times). The program closes with British choreographer Richard Alston’s Such Longing, set to music by Frédéric Chopin—passionate, sweeping, and coupled with live piano accompaniment.

Related videos from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, New York Theatre Ballet in 2007: http://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/new-york-theatre-ballet/come-to-me-bend-to-me-from-brigadoon/


Dorrance Dance, August 10-14, Ted Shawn Theatre

Following sold-out engagements in the past three seasons, MacArthur Fellow, New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award recipient, 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient, and 2014 Tap Program Director of the School at Jacob’s Pillow Michelle Dorrance, in partnership with Nicholas Van Young and Dorrance Dance, returns to the Ted Shawn Theatre. The company will present the new evening-length work ETM: Double Down, an expansion of ETM: The Initial Approach which premiered at Jacob’s Pillow in 2014 and was created during Creative Development Residencies at the Pillow. ETM utilizes Young’s original electronic musical devices to create a live sound score and push “the boundaries of tap while exposing its true nature: that it is music” (Gia Kourlas, The New York Times).

Related video from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, Dorrance Dance in 2013: http://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/dorrance-dance/etm-the-initial-approach/


MONUMENT, by Adam H. Weinert, August 10-14, Doris Duke Theatre

A revival of iconic works by the legends of modern dance, Adam H. Weinert’s MONUMENT infuses a contemporary perspective on ever-relevant themes of identity. With ingenuity, reverence, and grace, Weinert and an ensemble of esteemed dancers perform classic solos by Doris Humphrey, José Limón, and Jacob’s Pillow founder Ted Shawn, as well as original choreography by Weinert himself, transporting audiences to a world that is “fleeting, mysterious and wholly alive” (Gia Kourlas, The New York Times). An alumnus of The School at Jacob’s Pillow and a former Jacob’s Pillow research fellow, Weinert uses his unique perspective and choreographic skill to illuminate Ted Shawn’s legacy.


FLEXN (photo Stephanie Berger)

FLEXN (photo Stephanie Berger)

FLEXN, August 17-20, Ted Shawn Theatre

Flex is an electrifying street dance, characterized by pausing, snapping, gliding, hat tricks, ‘bone breaking’, animation, and contortion, that has evolved from the Jamaican bruk-up style made popular in Brooklyn reggae clubs. Created by flex pioneer and East Brooklyn native Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and visionary theatre and opera director Peter Sellars, along with an outstanding cast of dancers from the flex community, FLEXN confronts today’s complicated social justice issues by combining raw personal narratives with this powerful and provocative movement style. Gray’s far-reaching influence has been seen widely in both the concert and commercial dance spheres; “This dance form, these artists, won’t be boxed in” (Siobhan Burke, The New York Times).


Pam Tanowitz Dance, August 17-20, Doris Duke Theatre

Hailed as “the wittiest choreographer since Mark Morris” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times), Pam Tanowitz has been creating dances since 1992 and is a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award and 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. Tanowitz brings her signature eccentricity, sharp energy, and unpredictable rhythms in a program including the striking Heaven on One’s Head (dubbed one of the Best Performances of 2014 by The New York Times) and the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces, a love letter to romantic ballets in an ultra-post-modern framework. Acclaimed New York City-based string quartet FLUX Quartet performs live for both works, alongside a commissioned electronic score by Dan Siegler.


Pacific Northwest Ballet, August 24-28, Ted Shawn Theatre

Closing the Ted Shawn Theatre season, Pacific Northwest Ballet returns to Jacob’s Pillow in a program showcasing the company’s technical precision and “light, radiant, musical dancing” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times). Founded in 1972 and led by former New York City Ballet principal dancer Peter Boal, the company presents Sum Stravinsky, danced to the composer’s “Dumbarton Oaks” concerto and choreographed by former Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Kiyon Gaines. The program will also include Paris Opera Ballet artistic director Benjamin Millepied’s fierce 3 Movements set to composer Steve Reich’s urgent, minimalist score, as well as a world premiere by prolific New York City-based choreographer Jessica Lang.


Souleymane Badolo, August 24-28, Doris Duke Theatre

Born in Burkina Faso and based in Brooklyn, dancer and choreographer Souleymane “Solo” Badolo explores the delicate balance between maintaining one’s roots and beginning again. In Yimbégré, he and fellow dancer Sylvestre Koffitse Akakpo-Adzaku (called “beautiful, supple movers” by Brian Seibert of The New York Times) perform with master drummer Mamoudou Konate, and demonstrate a powerful, athletic, and contemporary movement technique. The work is a deeply personal dance, full of gesture and bursts of energy, strongly grounded in African traditions and history.


Tickets go on sale to the public April 1, online at 12:01am and via phone at 10am (413.243.0745); Jacob’s Pillow Members can order as early as January 11.




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