In 2015, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival hosted more than 50 dance companies from Cuba, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada, and all across the U.S. And we honored Executive and Artistic Director Ella Baff's final season at the Pillow.
Festival 2014 featured vibrant, intriguing, and inspirational dance performances from Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, and across the U.S.
A season of new dance experiences, beloved favorites, and internationally acclaimed performers from across the globe coupled with a diverse schedule of free events, talks, and outdoor dance performances made Festival 2013 one for the record books.
The 80th Anniversary Season audiences experienced company debuts, world premiere works, conversations with lauded choreographers and dancers, stunning photography and art exhibits, and one-of-a-kind special events.
President Barack Obama honored the Pillow with the National Medal of Arts, and the season included companies from Switzerland, Norway, Argentina, Cuba, Canada, France, and South Korea. The 30th anniversary of the Mark Morris Dance Group was saluted with an exclusive exhibition of Annie Leibovitz photos.
2010 saw the Pillow's first-ever presentation of Thai dance by Pichet Klunchun and his company, the U.S. premiere of the dance-theatre work MONGER by Barak Marshall, and the Pillow debut of the all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performed the world premiere of Cherkaoui’s Orbo Novo, Slovenia’s Ballet Maribor premiered Radio and Juliet to the music of Radiohead, and tap sensation Jason Samuels Smith and A.C.G.I. brought down the house with a two-week sold out engagement.
Jacques d'Amboise made his Pillow debut in a PillowTalk and led his National Dance Institute in its first Inside/Out presentation, while the Trey McIntyre Project was officially launched with the world premiere of a new work set to Peter, Paul, and Mary, attended by Peter Yarrow himself.
The 75th anniversary season included nine world premieres by choreographers including Yuri Possokhov and James Kudelka, and the co-commission of a new Paul Taylor work. Festivities included the revival of Joanna Haigood's Invisible Wings and first-time PillowTalks by Yvonne Rainer, Joan Acocella, and Roger Rees.
Sixty-five years after his first visit, Frederic Franklin returned to participate in a PillowTalk and introduce a screening of the documentary film, Ballets Russes. Greece's Choreftes made its American debut, while works by Nacho Duato, Tania Pérez-Salas, Tero Saarinen, and Tim Rushton were presented for the first time in the U.S.
This season included world premieres by Ronald K. Brown, Susan Marshall, Ben Munisteri, and Margo Sappington, and a full week of performances by Savion Glover. Mexico's A Poc A Poc made its U.S. debut, Stockholm 59° North presented a Jorma Elo premiere, and Wally Cardona created a new work in residence.
The federal government recognized Jacob's Pillow as a National Historic Landmark, and the Dance Heritage Coalition designated the Pillow as one of America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures. New Zealand's Black Grace made its U.S. debut, and Anna Halprin visited for the first time as the subject of a PillowTalk.
Many more performance opportunities became possible with the opening of a new space, originally known as the Studio/Theatre (now the Doris Duke Theatre). Ted Shawn's centennial was celebrated with a commissioned program called Jacob's Pillow's Men Dancers, which later toured internationally.
Dance performances spilled outside for the first time, with Inside/Out presentations added into the schedule on a weekly basis. A "festival within a festival" known as Splash enlivened every available studio and stage, and both Mark Morris and Mikhail Baryshnikov joined the artist roster.
A 1973 advertising campaign boasted, "Margot Fonteyn will be there. What about you?", and many other prominent artists also made their Pillow debuts, including Twyla Tharp, Pilobolus, Judith Jamison, and Gelsey Kirkland. Ted Shawn died in 1972, and Jacob's Pillow learned how to survive without its founder.
While Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis were celebrating their 50th anniversary and giving their final performances, artists such as Pina Bausch and the Paul Taylor Dance Company appeared for the first time. Most artists were part of mixed programs, usually combining ballet stars with a lesser-known modern company and an international soloist.
Several seasons in the 1950s were built around a high-profile company that Ted Shawn referred to as his "crown jewel," often performing for two or three consecutive weeks. Some of these, such as the Royal Danish Ballet, Ballet Rambert, and National Ballet of Canada, made their U.S. debuts here.
The first performances took place in the barn studio on Friday afternoons, introduced by Ted Shawn and featuring his company of Men Dancers. After the company disbanded, two diverse seasons in the studio (1940-41) proved the need for the Ted Shawn Theatre to accommodate a wide range of artists and companies.
Performers: 1933 to Today
"For dancers all over the world, to dance at Jacob's Pillow represents a major goal in life. Jacob's Pillow is really one of our national landmarks and reflects the perseverance of what Americans have accomplished in and for dance."
- Arthur Mitchell, Founder & Artistic Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem