French Group Brings Algerian Street Dance to Jacob’s Pillow

Herve Koubi(BECKET, Mass.) – French dance group Compagnie Hervé KOUBI makes its Jacob’s Pillow debut in the highly physical evening-length work “What the Day Owes to the Night (Ce que le jour doit à la nuit)” from Wednesday, August 3, through Sunday, August 7, in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Guided by the artistic vision of French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi, the performance finds inspiration through a cultural cross-section of artistic mediums, transforming street dance from Algeria and Burkina Faso into acrobatic modern dance, set to an eclectic score ranging from Bach to traditional Sufi music.

Also this week, New York Theatre Ballet, a bright and intriguing chamber ballet company, presents two distinct contemporary works, including Antony Tudor’s 1937 masterpiece Dark Elegies, an eloquent, somber ballet danced to Gustav Mahler’s song cycle Kindertotenlieder. In the Doris Duke Theatre, the evening also includes the rigorous new ballet “Song Before Spring,” choreographed by Zhong Jing Fang of American Ballet Theatre and New York Theatre Ballet’s own Steven Melendez. “Song Before Spring” is danced to an exciting arrangement of composer Philip Glass’s Piano Etudes, performed by the steel drum ensemble of New York University.

Comprised of 17 male dancers hailing from Algeria and Burkina Faso, Compagnie Hervé KOUBI combines fiercely acrobatic styles with contemporary dance, performing as if “there [is] no such thing as physics” (Rebecca Ritzel, The Washington Post).

Trained in the urban street dance scene, the members of the company exhibit “mesmerizingly fluid strength” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times).

The ensemble was founded and is led by Hervé Koubi, who learned of his Algerian roots later in life, and discovered his newfound origins as a transformative source for artistic inspiration.

“What the Day Owes to the Night, or Ce que le jour doit à la nuit,” takes its title and themes from Yasmina Khadra’s novel and film about the childhood of Youne, a young man growing up in the 1930s during the Algerian war for independence. “Ce que le jour doit à la nuit” features a unique movement style with a combination of capoeira, martial arts, urban, acrobatics, and contemporary dance to illustrate the novel’s themes in correlation with Koubi’s own personal story.

“A stunning fusion of acrobatics, gymnastics, b-boying, modern dance, and ballet,” (Rebecca Ritzel, The Washington Post) the company presents the full gravity-defying ensemble in white pants and skirts, accentuating the stunning backflips and powerful energy. The work combines vigor, talent, and fearlessness, including breathtaking movement, “one man after another ran up the backs of his fellows to leap or fall backward or be tossed shockingly high into the air” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times).

Company founder and choreographer Hervé Koubi holds a Doctorate of Pharmacology and Clinical Biology but chose to focus his career as a dancer-choreographer at the faculty of Aix Marseille Université. He has worked with Jean-Charles Gil, Jean-Christophe Paré, Emilio Calcagno, and Barbara Sarreau (all of whom greatly influenced the Ballet Preljocaj).

In 2000, he established Compagnie Hervé KOUBI with his first work “Le Golem.” Since then, Koubi has been creating and choreographing works including “Le Garage” with Karine Saporta at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Caen, “4’ 30”” with musical artist Laetitia Sherrif, Moon Dogs, Relief d’un Banquet with Thierry Smits – Compagnie Thor in Brussels, Un rendez-vous en Afrique in collaboration with dancers from Côte d’Ivoire from the Beliga Kope Company, and on the tour of the work D’Orient. In 2009, Koubi held an audition in Algeria for two works, El Din (2010) and Ce que le jour doit à la nuit (2013).

Hervé Koubi received the honor of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (l’Ordre de Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres) by the French Ministry of Culture in July 2015.


Performance and ticket information

Compagnie Hervé KOUBI

Ted Shawn Theatre

Wednesday, August 3 – Saturday, August 6, 8pm

Saturday, August 6 & Sunday, August 7, 2pm


Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Nancy Wozny are offered in Blake’s Barn 30 minutes before each performance

Free Post-Show Talk with artists from Compagnie Hervé KOUBI will take place immediately following the performance on Friday, August 5 at the Ted Shawn Theatre.

Tickets start at $39. Now on sale online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office. $10 youth/teen tickets (ages 17 and younger) are available.

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


Pillow Members receive exclusive benefits. To become a Member, call 413.243.9919×125.

Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob’s Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped accessible.



New York Theatre Ballet

August 3-7, Wednesday-Saturday at 8:15pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:15pm

Doris Duke Theatre


New York Theatre Ballet, a bright and intriguing chamber ballet company, presents two distinct contemporary works including Antony Tudor’s 1937 masterpiece Dark Elegies, an eloquent, somber ballet danced to Gustav Mahler’s song cycle Kindertotenlieder. The evening also includes the rigorous new ballet Song Before Spring, choreographed by Zhong Jing Fang of American Ballet Theatre and New York Theatre Ballet’s own Steven Melendez. Song Before Spring is danced to an exciting arrangement of composer Philip Glass’s Piano Etudes, performed by the steel drum ensemble of New York University. Tickets start at $25.


Free Inside/Out Performance: Francine E. Ott/The Walk

Wednesday, August 3, 6:15pm

Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Francine E. Ott/The Walk presents a spiritual hybrid of hip hop, house, modern, and African dance unfolding the universal story of loss, redemption and healing. An alumna and former faculty member of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, Ott is a dancer, choreographer, and the rehearsal director of Camille A. Brown & Dance’s. The program will include the quartet James as well as In the Heart of Those He Desires, Acceptance, and Undivided. FREE




Free Inside/Out Performance: Kate Wallich and The YC

Thursday, August 4, 6:15pm

Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Founded in 2010, Seattle-based Kate Wallich + The YC utilizes highly-crafted dance movement to create immersive performances. The company is led by the artistic vision of dancer, choreographer, and teacher Kate Wallich who was named one of the “Top 25 to Watch” of 2015 by Dance Magazine. The company will perform excerpts of post-internet generation-inspired Splurge Land set to an original score by Johnny Goss and the company’s newest work, Industrial Ballet. FREE


Free Inside/Out Performance: Preeti Vasudevan & Thresh Performing Arts Collaborative

Friday, August 5, 6:15pm

Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Based in New York City, Thresh Performing Arts Collective is led by Preeti Vasudevan and explores the juxtaposition of traditional Indian dance forms and modern theories of movement and expression. The company’s Inside/Out performance will include Veiled Moon, inspired by the life and works of famed 18th century poet Mah Laqa Bai Chanda, as well as the bare bones new classical work Boxed, set to live music. FREE


Free Pillow Talk: Making Dance for Stage and Screen

Friday, August 5, 5pm

Blake’s Barn

Patricia Birch has earned two Emmy Awards and five Tony nominations in a career that crosses all media, and here she discusses her dance roots and her iconic films and shows. FREE


Free Inside/Out Performance: Musical Theatre Dance Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow

Saturday, August 6, 6:15pm

Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

The international students from the Musical Theatre Dance program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow perform repertory works to live music coached by program director, Tony Award winner, and Broadway veteran Chet Walker in preparation for the annual benefit for The School at Jacob’s Pillow, A Jazz Happening. FREE



Free PillowTalk: The Art of Grace

Saturday, August 6, 4pm

Blake’s Barn

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sarah Kaufman discusses what has been called her “truly eloquent book” on the qualities that enable both dancers and ordinary mortals to move well through life. FREE



Sunday Master Class with Festival Artist: New York Theatre Ballet

Sunday, August 7, 10am

Doris Duke Theatre

Festival artist New York Theatre Ballet will teach a master class open to all intermediate and advanced dancers ages 16 and over. Pre-registration is required, call 413.243.9919 x5 the week of the class to register. Quiet observation is welcome; $15 per class or $80 for a 6-class card. Participants younger than 18 will require a parent’s signature on a liability waiver.




Lois Greenfield: Moving Still

Blake’s Barn

Open daily, noon to 10pm Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon to 5pm Sundays-Tuesdays.

Accompanying the publication of Greenfield’s newest book, Moving Still celebrates the recent work of a singular artist who has defined dance photography for decades. In addition to her signature gravity-defying images, this exclusive exhibit debuts her latest collection of enigmatic moments, caught beneath the threshold of perception. FREE


Building the Pillow

Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes prior to every performance.

While seemingly unchanged and timeless in many ways, the beloved structures of this National Historic Landmark have been in constant transition for more than 200 years. In this exhibit, rare photographs of the site’s development are shared, many for the first time. FREE


Hirschfeld on the Move

Doris Duke Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes prior to every performance.

The legendary Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) loved dance and captured movement with uncanny economy of line. One of his last masterworks was a commissioned study of Ted Shawn at Jacob’s Pillow (now available on new merchandise in The Pillow Store), and exhibited among nine decades of other dance images in an exclusive exhibition created with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. FREE


Jacob’s Pillow Archives/Norton Owen Reading Room

Blake’s Barn

Open daily, noon to 10pm Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon to 5pm Sundays-Tuesdays.

This newly-expanded informal library and reading room allows impromptu visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow’s computer catalog, or peruse permanent collections of Pillow programs and photographs from the Pillow’s Archives. Also on display are recent donations from Ruth St. Denis’s family and more treasures from the Stephan Driscoll Collection. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, available on the popular touch-screen kiosk in the Reading Room, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s. FREE


ABOUT JACOB’S PILLOW: Jacob’s Pillow, celebrating its 84th Festival in 2016, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and an extensive schedule of free public events. Through Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally recognized program, Artist Educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; choreography commissions; and the annual $25,000 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award all support visionary dance artists and choreographers. During Creative Development Residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio space, and access to the Pillow’s rare and extensive Archives and other Pillow resources. In the beautiful, retreat-like atmosphere of the Pillow, the Creative Development Residencies are rare opportunities for artists to focus on the creative process without distraction. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. The Pillow’s digital initiatives are aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob’s Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and social media. An important part of the Pillow’s digital presence, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive is a curated online video collection of dance highlights from 1933 to today. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.