Debuts and Farewells
Experience significant debut performances and bittersweet farewells that have taken place on the Pillow’s stages.
Daniel Ulbricht / Ballet 2014
Fancy Free, 2014
Some of New York City Ballet’s finest dancers made their Pillow debuts in an outstanding program of works by Justin Peck, Benjamin Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon, Emery LeCrone, and Larry Keigwin. These Stars of American Ballet presented the Pillow’s first performance of Jerome Robbins’s Fancy Free since 1949!
Trey McIntyre Project
Mercury Half-Life, 2014
In 2014, fans traveled from far and wide to witness the farewell performances of the Trey McIntyre Project at the Pillow, where the company had made its official debut only a few years before. Here’s a glimpse of the final work they presented before disbanding, Mercury Half-Life, with rousing music by Freddy Mercury and Queen.
Broadway to Hip-Hop, 2014
These identical twin performers have been dancing together since they were ten, working with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. Creating and performing their own material, they manage to reference an astounding number of sources in their Broadway to Hip-Hop.
Bad Boys of Dance
Heartbreak on Repeat, 2007
This clip captures the world debut of Rasta Thomas’s company in 2007, with Thomas himself in an electrifying solo. Thomas and his company were a central feature of the award-winning Pillow documentary, Never Stand Still.
Marge Champion and Blake Champion
This was perhaps the only time that Marge Champion danced onstage with her son Blake (after whom Blake’s Barn was named), and fortunately the moment was captured on video.
Chit Chat Polka, 1950
This rare 1950 film encompasses both the debut and the farewell of a pioneering American ballerina, in her own idiosyncratic Chit Chat Polka.
After having made her U.S. debut at the Pillow in 1960, Indrani is seen here in her final appearance at the Pillow nearly 20 years later.
The Hong Kong Ballet
Symphony in Three Movements, 2012
One of the largest contingents of performers ever to appear on the Ted Shawn Theatre stage, the 26 dancers seen here brought down the house in this closing work of Hong Kong Ballet’s debut engagement. This also marks the first work by Nils Christe in Dance Interactive, though it has been more than 25 years since his choreography was first presented at the Pillow by Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet.
Luna Negra Dance Theater
During the very same week when Hong Kong Ballet made its first Pillow appearance, we also hosted the first visit from Chicago’s Luna Negra – a company which has since permanently disbanded. Former company director Gustavo Ramirez Sansano returned in 2013 as a guest choreographer for The School at Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program.
Although she has been one of the New York dance scene’s most compelling dancer-choreographers for more than 20 years, the chance to see Jodi Melnick at Jacob’s Pillow emerged only in 2011 when she shared a program with David Neumann. A New York Times critic called Melnick’s Fanfare “one of the most satisfying dances I’ve seen in a while” and we have chosen a mesmerizing minute to showcase here.
This contingent from the pre-eminent Paris Opera Ballet brought audiences to their feet during this 2011 U.S. debut. An excerpt from a work called Quatre might seem to indicate that four dancers would be involved, though an injury on the day of this performance necessitated restaging the work for three of the company’s outstanding male soloists instead.
Jessica Lang Dance
Lines Cubed, 2012
After creating work for leading companies worldwide, Jessica Lang formed a permanent ensemble in 2012. This moment from Lang’s Lines Cubed bears a striking resemblance to the paintings of Piet Mondrian – if only a painting could dance!
National Ballet of Canada
Lilac Garden (Jardin aux Lilas), 1953
Now one of North America’s oldest and largest companies, it’s hard to now imagine it as a somewhat scrappy young ensemble who made its first U.S. appearance at the Pillow in 1953. The great ballet choreographer Antony Tudor was on faculty at the Pillow that summer, thereby allowing him to personally supervise performances of his classic Lilac Garden, a choice moment of which is seen here in an extremely rare film.
Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, 1946
There’s always a first time, even for such an iconic artist as José Limón. And this is it – his very first appearance at Jacob’s Pillow from 1946. His company was brand-new, and the Doris Humphrey dance excerpted in this clip had only premiered two weeks before it was filmed here. There’s no mistaking his powerful performance style, even at this formative stage in his career. It’s also a treat to see the remarkably unchanged Tea Garden platform in this priceless footage.
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