Nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in the town of Becket, Mass, is Jacob’s Pillow, a sprawling 220-acre site that hosts the oldest and one of the most prestigious dance festivals in the US. Every summer, thousands of people gather to watch prominent dancers, choreographers and rising talent display their talents on several stages.
Summer 2018 is no exception. If you haven’t ventured to Jacob’s Pillow, this is the summer to do so. The line-up of talent is nothing short of amazing. Jacobs Pillow is a family-friendly venue offering so many diverse programs that even the youngest family member will enjoy the experience.
“2018 Season highlights include US company debuts, world premieres, international artists, newly commissioned works and the formal presentation of work developed through the organization’s growing residency program at the Pillow Lab,” states Nicole Tomasofsky, Pillow’s public relations coordinator. ” International artists will travel to Becket, Massachusetts, from Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Australia, France, Spain, and Scotland. Notably, representation from across the United States includes New York City, Minneapolis, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago among others.”
The Season begins with the opportunity to see Royal Danish Ballet at The Ted Shawn Theatre. Principals and soloists return to the Pillow with excerpts from classical ballet’s enduring masters, including Marius Petipa, Jules Perrot and August Bournonville.
The Doris Duke Theatre will host Ragamala Dance Company, described as “soulful, imaginative and rhythmically contagious” (The New York Times), this Bharatanatyam company performs Written in Water. Original composition by jazz trumpeter Amir ElSaffe.
June 27 – July 1
Pilobolus. A must-see for all ages. This wildly creative troupe of daring dancers will present Branches, a stunning display of acrobatics, inventive wit and dazzling imagery.
Ephrat Asherie Dance presents the world premiere of Odeon, a mixture of hip-hop, house and vogue with an enticing score by Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth. Live music.
July 4 – July 8
Hailing from Israel, Batsheva; The Young Ensemble will perform Naharin’s Virus. This troupe is considered one of the most prominent contemporary dance companies in the world.
The Herald Sun describes Nicola Gunn as, “tantalizing, entertaining, ridiculous and often bewildering in the best most possible way.” Nicola Gunn tells the story of a man, a woman, and a duck.
July 11 – 15
Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will perform alongside his company EASTMAN. They are presenting Fractus V, “an epic work that spans contemporary genres from Flamenco to hip-hop, featuring live music from India, Japan and Korea.”
Phildanco! “Spiritually uplifting, and socially conscious (The Philadelphia Inquirer),” this celebrated Philadelphian Company delivers athletic, contemporary ballet.
July 18 – July 22
Dorrance Dance. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award-winner Michelle Dorrance returns, bringing her latest piece, Myelination, along with a world premiere, set to live music.
The New York Times describes Cie Art Move Concept, as ” a French tour de force of movement and motion; a thrilling fusion of hip-hop and contemporary dance.”
July 25 – 29
Ronald K Brown/ Evidence, returns to the Pillow with a soulful and uplifting new work. A blend of African, Carribbean and contemporary choreography set to Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrell’s Latin jazz beats. Live music.
Compania Sharon Fridman makes its US debut at the Pillow. “The program highlights athletic, adventurous work rooted in improvisation.”
August 1 – 5
Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance will return to the Pillow. This world-renowned dance force brings a diverse program lead by such amazing choreographers as Crystal Pite and Alejandro Cerrudo.
2018 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award-winner Faye Driscoll returns with Thank You For Coming: Play. “A collage of gesture, image, voice, and persona where performers ventriloquize, shape-shift and speak through and for each other.”
August 8 – 12
Limon Dance Company, a staple in the American modern dance world, brings to life classics by Jose Limon, as well as new choreography.
Paramodernities By Netta Yerushalmy. This world premiere deconstructs modern choreographers including Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine and Bob Fosse.
August 15 – 19
Houston Ballet returns for the first time in nearly 40 years with a program celebrating classic and contemporary choreography alongside a piece by Trey McIntyre and a Pillow-commissioned world premiere by artistic director Stanton Welch.
“Obie and Lucille Lortel Award-winner Sonya Tayeh presents you’ll still call me by name, an emotionally charged dance symphony in collaboration with vocalist and indie-folk duo The Bengsons.”
August 22 – 26
Rounding out the summer, Daniel Ulbricht curates Stars of American Ballet in celebration of legend Jerome Robbins. San Francisco-based ODC/DANCE flaunts rigorous and partnering in their performance of Dead Reckoning.
These may be the season’s highlights but alongside this spectacular line-up is also Inside/Out Performance Series set on the Pillow’s outdoor stage. Popular with audiences of all ages, these performances happen Wednesday through Saturday, from 6:15 to 7pm, and they’re free.
These are entertaining and informative discussions with writers, choreographers, filmmakers and cultural experts, moderated by Pillow scholars. Friday 5 – 6pm and Saturday 4 – 5pm. Free
Spend a day at The Pillow, picnic on the grounds or dine at one of two restaurants. The Old Inn on the Green, a full-service dining and full bar experience or The Southfield Store, an on-the go- menu of sandwiches, salads and sweets, with wine and beer.
For the advanced dancer, 16 and older, the Pillow offers master classes on Sundays. Learn from festival artists. Sundays, June 24 – August 26 from 10-11:30am.
Family classes are offered for all ages and levels.
There is so much happening you may find that one visit is not enough! Tickets can be purchased online at jacobspillow.org or by phone 413-243-0745. Jacob’s Pillow, 358 George Carter Rd, Becket, Mass.