Monday, May 17, 2010

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

“I believe that dance communicates man’s deepest, highest and most truly spiritual thoughts and emotions far better than words, spoken or written.” – Ted Shawn, Jacob's Pillow founder

Ever heard of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival? This festival, commonly known as the Pillow, is internationally-acclaimed and the longest-running dance festival in the United States. It is held in Becket, MA at a national historic landmark which is the only landmark of its kind for dance. This year, it will be held from June 19 to August 29 and includes both free and ticketed events with dancers and companies such as Nina Ananiashvilli and the State Ballet of Georgia, Dance Theater of Harlem, Armitage Gone! Dance, Jacoby and Pronk, and many others. On, the festival:
is lauded worldwide as a "hub and mecca of dancing" (TIME Magazine) and "one of America's most precious cultural assets" (Mikhail Baryshnikov)...Each year thousands of people from across the U.S. and around the globe visit to experience the Festival with more than 50 dance companies and 200 free performances, talks, and events; train at The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S.; explore the Pillow's rare and extensive dance archives; and take part in numerous community Programs designed to educate and engage dance audiences of all ages. 
Companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Parsons Dance Company, and Trey McIntyre Project made their debuts at the Pillow, and international groups such as The Royal Danish Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre, Black Grace and Hofesh Shechter Company have made their U.S. debuts here.

Its founder and creator, Ted Shawn, was a modern dance pioneer. He and his wife, Ruth St. Denis, ran the highly regarded modern dance company, Denishawn Company, which included other modern dance pioneers such as Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey. Shawn bought the farm, on which the festival is held, as a retreat in 1931. The festival began in the summer of 1933, when Shawn began having "Tea Lecture Demonstrations" where he and his men dancers showcased their choreography and work to pay the bills. The first week of these demonstrations attracted 45 guests, and each week it grew so that by the end of the summer, they were turning visitors away!

The Festival now attracts more than 80,000 visitors each summer to its performances, lectures, tours, films, exhibits, and talks with artists from all over the world. If you really are a true dance nerd, this an event you don't want to miss!

For a more in-depth history, see

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about the Pillow and including photos, too! I posted a link to this on our FB page:

    Hope to see you this summer!
    Katryn (Pillow staffer)