(BECKET, Mass.) – Dorrance Dance, Dance Heginbotham, Liz Lerman, and Canada’s Aszure Barton & Artists are just a few of the headliners at this summer’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, kicking off on Wed-Sun, June 24-28, with A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham, and running through Wed-Sat, August 19-22 with audience favorite MOMIX.
Festival 2020 will feature world premieres, new commissions, anniversary celebrations, Pillow-exclusive engagements, U.S. debuts, and work developed at the Pillow Lab.
Festival world premieres include new works for Dorrance Dance set by living tap legends and a new solo created and performed by Michelle Dorrance, as the beloved tap company takes over the Pillow’s entire campus in Dorrance Dance Plays the Pillow (July 1-5); a new collaboration between Dance Heginbotham Artistic Director John Heginbotham and composer Ethan Iverson titled Dance Sonata with a solo for former Miami City Ballet principal, Patricia Delgado (July 22-26); a new work by Brian Brooks for The Moving Company (August 12-16); and Liz Lerman’s evening-length work, Wicked Bodies, which takes inspiration from the powerful and grotesque portrayal of witches throughout history (August 19-23).
Los Angeles-based urban latin dance theater company CONTRA-TIEMPO makes their Jacob’s Pillow debut in the powerful and electrifying joyUS justUS (July 8-12); long-time collaborators Sylvain Lafortune and Esther Rousseau-Morin as well as Anne Plamondon and James Gregg make their Pillow debut as part of the Pillow exclusive program Duets from Quebec, which investigates the art of the duet (July 15-19); LAVA Compañía de Danza, resident dance company of Auditorio de Tenerife, makes its U.S. debut under the direction of Artistic Director Daniel Abreu (August 5-9).
Five companies return to commemorate significant milestones at the Festival, a symbol of historic significance that Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival holds.
Limón Dance Company, which made its company debut at the Pillow in 1946, the same year it was founded, marks its 75th anniversary (July 8-12). Ballet Hispánico (July 22-26) and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (July 29-August 2), both groundbreaking cultural ambassadors in their own right, each celebrate their 50th anniversaries; MOMIX celebrates 40 years under the innovative vision of Moses Pendleton (August 19-22); and The Sarasota Ballet returns to kick-off its 30th Anniversary Season (August 26-30).
International companies include Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève from Switzerland, performing the U.S. premiere of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Fall (July 24-28); Germany’s Gauthier Dance // Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart performing the U.S. premiere of Swan Lakes with adaptations by Marie Chouinard, Marco Goecke, Cayetano Soto, and Hofesh Shechter (July 15-19); Montréal-based collaborators Sylvain Lafortune, Esther Rousseau-Morin, and Anne Plamondon are featured together on a program of duets (July 15-19); Malavika Sarukkai, one of the greatest living masters of the classical South Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam performs in the ensemble work Thari – The Loom (July 29-August 3); New Zealand-based Black Grace returns to the Pillow for the first time in over a decade (August 5-9); Tenerife-based LAVA Compañía de Danza in their U.S. debut (August 5-9); and Canada’s Aszure Barton & Artists performing the U.S. premiere of Where There’s Form (August 26-30).
The Festival features the formal presentation of works developed at the Pillow Lab, a newly established residency program. They include Kyle Abraham’s latest An Untitled Love, an exploration of the concept of love in the Black community set to music by R&B legend D’Angelo (June 24-28); the duet Only You created by Canadian choreographer Anne Plamondon (July 15-19); Brian Brooks’s latest work (August 12-
16); Liz Lerman’s Wicked Bodies (August 19-23); and Where There’s Form from Aszure Barton, set to music by Academy Award-nominated pianist and composer Hauschka (August 26-30).
The Season Opening Gala opens the Festival on June 20, 2020.
Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
June 24-28, Ted Shawn Theatre
“One of the most original and inventive in Europe” (La Presse de Tunisie) Switzerland’s acclaimed ballet company returns to Jacob’s Pillow for the first time in nearly a decade. Under the direction of Philippe Cohen since 2003, the company made its U.S. debut at the Pillow in 2007. Featuring classically trained dancers performing contemporary choreography, their program includes the U.S. premiere of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Fall,
a highly physical work centered around the capacity to descend and rise again, set to music by Avro Pärt. Boasting a rich, century-long history, the company is praised as “without a doubt one of the best European companies” (Paris Capitale). Additional programming to be announced.
A.I.M by Kyle Abraham
June 24-28, Doris Duke Theatre
Kyle Abraham’s most recent, highly anticipated work An Untitled Love is a creative exaltation that serves as a thumping mixtape celebrating culture, family, and community. Comprised of the catalogue of R&B legend D’Angelo, the evening-length work is an ode to Abraham’s intense, personal connection with the Grammy Award-winning artist’s music. In his own words, Abraham explains, “That love has never waned. D’Angelo’s music has played an integral part in my deep appreciation for the richness of Soul – R&B music. Within his music exists the histories and Neo-romanticism of Black love in America.”
A Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, Doris Duke Artist Award winner, and a MacArthur Fellow, Kyle Abraham is one of today’s most in-demand choreographers. This marks the choreographer’s third Festival engagement in four years. The company’s evocative, interdisciplinary work has been praised for its “lush mix of modern and hip-hop dance” (The Boston Globe). An Untitled Love is a Pillow co-commission and has been developed through
two residencies at the Pillow Lab.
Dorrance Dance Plays the Pillow
July 1-5, Ted Shawn & Doris Duke Theatre
In this Pillow-exclusive, week-long production, Dorrance Dance takes over the Pillow’s entire campus with
performances in the Ted Shawn Theatre, Doris Duke Theatre, and special pop-ups, performing world premieres,
celebrated past works, and newly imagined site-specific works. Plus, Michelle Dorrance curates the
performances presented on Inside/Out, the Pillow’s iconic outdoor stage each evening.
In the Ted Shawn Theatre, the program features a world premiere solo for Michelle Dorrance, set alongside one
of her most intimate rhythmic compositions, SOUNDspace, performed at Jacob’s Pillow for the first time. The
program is framed by world premieres set on Dorrance Dance by living tap legends, providing a glimpse into the
direct influence of these tap visionaries on Dorrance, her company, and the field at large. Critically acclaimed,
The New York Times praises the award-winning tap dance company, “visually and aurally, the results are always
In a new work designed specifically for the Doris Duke Theatre, a singular in-the-round experience will be
created by blending three site-specific collaborations of Michelle Dorrance and Nicholas Van Young.
Incorporating the unique sonic palettes and compositions featured in Elemental (set in the BAM Fisher) and The
Rotunda Project (Works and Process at the Guggenheim), Dorrance, Young, and members of Dorrance Dance
explore a black-box theater space like never before.
Limón Dance Company
July 8-12, Ted Shawn Theatre
Limón Dance Company, a vanguard of American modern dance since its inception in 1946, returns to Jacob’s
Pillow to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Acclaimed for dramatic expression, technical mastery, and expansive yet
nuanced movement, the company is a thriving legacy of José Limón and his mentors Doris Humphrey and
Charles Weidman, whose innovative works revolutionized dance in America.
Under the direction of Artistic Director Colin Connor, their anniversary program offers moments where dance
history comes alive — beginning with performances around the campus that correlate to the rare film of José
Limón dancing solos from Humphrey’s iconic Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías at Jacob’s Pillow in 1946 that
will open the performance. The company performs Limón’s Psalm, which weaves together belief, ritual, and
history and the all-male ensemble work The Unsung, danced to the sound of dancers’ breath and footwork. As
an homage to the Company’s inaugural season and first Pillow performance, they perform Doris Humphrey’s Air
for G String, a grave, sculptural work set to Bach. In celebration of the company’s new directions, they perform
Connor’s vivid The Weather in the Room, which captures the complexities of the shifting dynamics of love
through an intergenerational cast that features master performers Stephen Pier and Miki Orihara.
July 8-12, Doris Duke Theatre
Founded by director Ana María Alvarez in 2005, CONTRA-TIEMPO is a bold, multilingual dance theater company
that draws on their Los Angeles lineage with work rooted in Salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, and contemporary
dance. In the company’s Pillow debut, they perform the evening-length work joyUS justUS, an embodiment of
radical joy and justice. “Potent, timely, and positive” (LA Dance Chronicle), the work centers joy as a critical part
of building a more just and loving world. Featuring original music by East Los Angeles Chicano band Las Cafeteras
and d. sabela grimes, this “joyous celebration of community” (San Francisco Bay Guardian) engages local
communities as participants and collaborators as an exuberant reminder of our capacity to connect, come
together, and celebrate.
Gauthier Dance // Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart
July 15-19, Ted Shawn Theatre
In the U.S. premiere of Swan Lakes, four of today’s leading international choreographers create their own
versions of the classic story. Germany’s Gauthier Dance // Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart performs
contemporary adaptations by Marie Chouinard, Marco Goecke, Cayetano Soto, and Hofesh Shechter, as
stylistically varied as choreographers themselves.
Marking the first time Marie Chouinard has worked with the company, the trial blazing avant garde
choreographer immerses audiences in a sensual experience where dance, electronic music, and video
projections merge, set to a new score by composer Louis Dufort. Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto focuses
on the moment of transformation aligned with a classical-electronic soundscape by composer and cellist Peter
Gregson. Boundary-breaking Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter plays with the darker elements of the
fairytale. Marco Goecke, Artist-in-Residence of Gauthier Dance, sports an all-male cast to contrast the female
connotation of the swan and utilizes the original Tchaikovsky composition. Gauthier Dance made their U.S.
debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2015.
Duets from Quebec
July 15-19, Doris Duke Theatre
This exclusive presentation of U.S. premieres highlights the art of the duet through two distinct programs by
Montréal-based contemporary artists: Anne Plamondon’s Only You also featuring American dancer James Gregg
and Sylvain Lafortune and Esther Rousseau-Morin’s L’un L’autre.
Co-founder of RUBBERBAND and former dancer with companies including Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de
Montreál and Nederlands Dans Theater II, Anne Plamondon is considered “one of Canada’s most exquisite
performers” (NOWMagazine). Together with American dancer James Gregg, she fuses classical and
contemporary elements with virtuosic movement that probes at memories to uncover the contrasting facets of
love in Only You.
L’un L’autre, a radiant ode to the beauty of “we” is the first duet created between long-time collaborators
Sylvain Lafortune and Esther Rousseau-Morin. Built around uninterrupted mutual support, two dancers come
together symbiotically to form a single, inseparable entity. Drawing on the constantly evolving nature of a
relationship and derived from their decade-long creative relationship, L’un L’autre has been praised as, “a work
of subtlety [and] of maturity” (Radio-Canada).
July 22-26, Ted Shawn Theatre
Known for “piercing stereotypes” (The New York Times), Ballet Hispánico celebrates a momentous 50th
anniversary at Jacob’s Pillow. Under the direction of former company member, Artistic Director & CEO, Eduardo
Vilaro, Ballet Hispánico has become America’s leading Latino dance organization, recognized for their missiondriven
ethos that has been a catalyst of change for communities throughout the country. As a cultural
ambassador, the critically acclaimed company “doesn’t look its age… [they] express the breadth and complexity
of Latino identity today” (The New Yorker). Their program celebrates five decades of lush and virtuosic dance,
and includes Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tiburones, a daring and insightful
work that addresses the discrimination and stereotypes placed upon Latinx culture. Additional programming to
July 22-26, Doris Duke Theatre
Celebrated for its vibrant athleticism, humor, theatricality, and commitment to collaboration, Dance Heiginbotham, led by Artistic Director John Heiginbotham has established itself as one of the most adventurous companies in the contemporary dance scene. John Heginbotham is praised by The New York Times as having “a
true theater artist’s instinct for commanding his audience,” is known for striking choreography that is perceptive, bright, and witty. A past recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, he is most recently acclaimed for his choreography in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Oklahoma!
The company performs Easy Win, a collaboration with jazz pianist and composer Ethan Iverson that draws inspiration from the collaborators’ shared experiences with formal ballet class. A delightful ode to the repetition, drama, humor of a dance class, Easy Win dissects its rituals with equal amounts of humor and sincerity through
dancers that are “keenly alive to the main pulses of Mr. Iverson’s music” (The New York Times). In the world
premiere of Dance Sonata, Heiginbotham and Iverson continue their collaboration, capturing the unique
interplay of dancers and musicians in a performance. This Pillow-commissioned work is followed by the world
premiere of a solo for former Miami City Ballet principal, Patrica Delgado.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
July 29-Aug 2, Ted Shawn Theatre
Founded by master teacher, choreographer, and cultural ambassador Cleo Parker Robinson in 1970, this Denver-based distinguished modern dance company is renowned for a dynamic body of work inspired by the African American experience and rooted in ethnic and modern dance traditions worldwide. Parker Robinson has
received a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor, the King M. Trimble Community Award, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance returns to the Pillow for the first time in over two decades in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Their program features masterworks that draw from a richly diverse and historic repertoire. They also perform newcomer Micaela Taylor’s Resist, a cutting-edge work set to a score that spans ‘70s funk to
Max Richter’s haunting minimalist tones. Taylor, who has been praised for her keen satirical perspective was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2019. Additional programming to be announced.
Malavika Sarukkai: Thari – The Loom
July 29-Aug 2, Doris Duke Theatre
Malavika Sarukkai is considered one of the greatest living masters of the classical South Indian dance style of
Bharatanatyam. A firm believer in the continuity of tradition, she preserves key elements of the style in her work
while creating a contemporary and personal interpretation of its cultural significance. The Guardian has
described, “A goddess dances…the bharatanatyam of Malavakia Sarukkai was flawless.” Sarukkai has received
the Padma Shree from the President of India, the Mrinalini Sarabhai Award for Excellence in Classical Dance, and
was featured in the BBC/WNET television documentary Dancing.
In Thari – The Loom, “an enchanting and deeply imaginative work” (The Washington Post), Sarukkai and her
ensemble of expert dancers delve into the history and legacy of the sari, the hand-woven garment from India.
With music created by Sai Shravanam, Professor C. V. Chandrasekhar, and Aditya Prakash, and creative elements
from filmmaker Sumantra Ghosal, Thari – The Loom explores the interplay between the eternal and the
changing, assuming mythic and philosophical dimensions as the sari becomes a metaphor for life itself.
August 5-9, Ted Shawn Theatre
Dedicated to the rich storytelling of the South Pacific, New Zealand-based Black Grace has been praised as, “the
most positive, living expression of any New Zealand art” (Sunday Star Times). Founded by Neil Ieremia in 1995,
the company masterfully blends contemporary and indigeous Samoan dance genres with a body of work “that
crosses geographic and social boundaries, often with innovative flair and theatricality” (The Boston Globe). They
return to the site of their 2004 U.S. debut with Kiona and the Little Bird Suite, drawing together half a dozen of
the Ieremia’s works created between 1996 and 2018. Featuring live drumming, chanting, singing, and body
percussion, Kiona and the Little Bird Suite demonstrates the dancers’ “incredible speed and stamina, an
exhilarating, seemingly inexhaustible energy” (The New York Times). Additional programming to be announced.
LAVA Compañía de Danza
August 5-9, Doris Duke Theatre
In its U.S. debut, the Tenerife-based LAVA Compañia de Danza performs a program that includes Bending the
Walls, by Spanish choreographer Fernando Hernando Magadán, current Artistic Director of choreographer for
Nederlands Dans Theater II. This lush, emotional work illustrates the metaphorical roadblocks we encounter in
the search for happiness, freedom, and understanding, with exceptional dancing. Founded in 2018 by Spanish
National Dance Award winner Daniel Abreu, LAVA is the resident dance company of Auditorio de Tenerife in the
Canary Islands, Spain. The ensemble regularly collaborates with new and versatile choreographic voices from
around the world. Additional programming to be announced.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet
August 12-16, Ted Shawn Theatre
Lauded as creating “the most sophisticated modernism in classical dance” (Los Angeles Times), choreographer
Alonzo King is renowned for imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. He has been hailed as a
visionary and is the recipient of the 2008 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. LINES Ballet returns, with dancers that are
“handsome, sleek, accomplished, and individual” (The New York Times).
The company performs the octet The Personal Element and AZOTH, inspired by the element mercury, two new
ensemble works set to music by venerable jazz musicians: saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist and composer
Jason Moran. When the program premiered in LINES’ native San Francisco, it was called “absolutely a triumph”
(The Bay Area Reporter).
Brian Brooks Moving Company
August 12-16, Doris Duke Theatre
A “master of momentum” (Chicago Tribune) and Guggenheim Fellow, Brian Brooks has choreographed for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Miami City Ballet, Wendy Whelan, and his own New York-based company. In The Moving Company’s first Pillow performance since 2013, they perform a world premiere, Brooks’s most recent
creation Closing Distance, and Brooks himself presents his first solo work created in five years. Closing Distance is set to a Pulitzer Prize-winning score by composer Caroline Shaw, and features the eight-voice Williamstown, Mass.-based ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Brooks’s solo features music by Bryce Dessner, Grammy Award-winning classical composer and founding member of The National. Brooks is an award-winning choreographer, who “shatter[s] conventional notions of the human capacity for strength and endurance” (Dance Magazine). He established The Moving Company in 2002.
August 19-22, Ted Shawn Theatre
Famous across the globe for exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty, MOMIX is a company of dancerillusionists
under the direction of Moses Pendleton, one of America’s most innovative and widely performed
choreographers. A co-founder of the ground-breaking Pilobolus Dance Theater in 1971, he formed his own
company, MOMIX, in 1980. MOMIX moves from humorous to athletic, sensual to physical, and dynamic to
lyrical, always using props, bodies, and costumes in new and unique ways. With signature elements of humor,
fantasy, beauty, and originality, the company “traffics in this tension between illusion and reality, apprehension
and excitement” (The New York Times).
Returning to the Pillow for the first time since 2002 as part of its 40th Anniversary season, the company
performs Viva MOMIX, a collection of some of the ensemble’s most beloved vignettes, which add up to a
“magical dance theater experience” (Critical Dance). Additional programming to be announced.
August 19-23, Doris Duke Theatre
Visionary choreographer Liz Lerman returns to the Pillow with the world premiere of her newest dance-theater
work Wicked Bodies, which asks why some knowledge is celebrated, criminalized, and erased altogether. In this
piece, part epic, part fable, witches are going extinct along with the natural world and are prized by collectors
for their histories. Told through the lens of the collector and his museum and through the witches own book of
Spells (Source for Perpetuation of Enduring Love, Loss, and Survival), we discover ways in which female wisdom
has emerged over eons, even as it has been misunderstood, negated, and legislated against. LA Dance Chronicle
claimed a preview of the work at Scripps College “only whetted one’s appetite and desire to see the completed
Aided by an award-winning design team and developed in part at the Pillow Lab, Lerman creates a world of old
crones, shape-shifters, familiars, and imps leading us into a post-extinction tale. Lerman is a MacArthur Fellow
and a Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient whose work is rooted in intense research, described as having,
“expansive range, emotional depth and singular beauty” (The Washington Post).
The Sarasota Ballet
August 26-30, Ted Shawn Theatre
As a kick-off to a momentous 30th Anniversary Season, The Sarasota Ballet returns to Jacob’s Pillow with a
program that highlights their unparalleled classical focus. Under the direction of Iain Webb since 2007, The
Sarasota Ballet has received national and international acclaim. The company is recognized for one of the most
extensive active repertoires of the choreography of Sir Frederick Ashton, and is known worldwide as the main
exponent of his ballets outside of the United Kingdom. The Sarasota Ballet regularly performs works by leading
ballet choreographers of the past and present including George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Sir Kenneth
MacMillan, Michel Fokine, Matthew Bourne, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp. According to The Boston
Globe, “the Sarasotans perform with character; this matters for the audience.” They bring a new program to
close out Festival 2020, featuring Ashton’s lavish Birthday Offering, a classical favorite which highlights his
quintessential traits: “charm, wit, humanity, affection, love of dance itself” (The New York Times). Additional
programming to be announced.
Aszure Barton & Artists
August 26-30, Doris Duke Theatre
Choreographer Aszure Barton is an innovator of form with an impressive career that includes choreographing
for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the English National Ballet, and the National Ballet of Canada. In 2002,
she founded her own company, Aszure Barton & Artists, with whom she has developed a comprehensive
choreographic language. Her work has been described as rebellious, fantastical, inventive, intelligent, and raw.
Aszure Barton & Artists perform the U.S. premiere of Where There’s Form, a new work created in collaboration
with distinguished experimental German composer Hauschka. Exploring an intensive dialogue between dance
and music, Barton and Hauschka work to collaboratively reveal passionate, smart bodies, and sounds, which
demonstrate humanity’s capacity for coexistence. Where There’s Form was developed in part during a Pillow Lab
residency and is a Jacob’s Pillow co-commission.
ABOUT JACOB’S PILLOW:
Founded by American modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn in 1933 and entering its 88th consecutive summer in 2020, Jacob’s Pillow is home to the longest-running dance festival in the United States, a National Historic Landmark, a National Medal of Arts recipient, and, under the direction of Pamela Tatge, has steadily expanded its reach in the field and its local community as a year-round center for dance research and
development. Festival 2020 opens June 24 and runs through August 30, attracting dance audiences from across the globe to its site in Western Massachusetts.
Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running
international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year
strategic plan titled Vision ‘22. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and
ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the field’s
most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap,
Musical Theatre Dance, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program (Street & Club Dances in 2020). The Pillow also
provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through
seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow
serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at
danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and
videos. 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. On March 2, 2011, President Barack 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. The Pillow’s Executive & Artistic Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge.