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Cultural Diversity

One of the legacies that founder Ted Shawn bestowed upon Jacob’s Pillow was his love for dances from cultures around the world. It’s a founding mission that the Pillow still wears as a badge of honor, as evidenced by these performance excerpts spanning nearly 80 years.

12 performances

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Cultural Diversity

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Compañía Irene Rodríguez

Amaranto, 2019

Irene Rodríguez closed her company’s 2019 performances with this virtuosic solo, a clear indication of what has made her a cultural icon in her native Havana.

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Playing 1 of 12

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Sayat Nova Dance Company

"Groonger" from A Journey to Armenia, 2019

Returning to Inside/Out from Boston for their third Pillow appearance, Sayat Nova Dance Company proved once again why they are regarded as North America’s leading Armenian dance ensemble.

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Playing 2 of 12

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Lakshmi Vishwanathan

Varnam, 2004

Known more recently for her work with Mark Morris on Lincoln Center’s Sounds of India Festival, Lakshmi Vishwanathan has brought Indian dance to stages all over the world since 1971.

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Playing 3 of 12

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Myung Soo Kim

"Taepyungmu" from Kut Choom '97, 1997

Trained in both modern dance and traditional Korean forms, Myung Soo Kim brought her colorful costumes and rich artistry to the Inside/Out stage for one magical night.

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Playing 4 of 12

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Rostov-on-Don Folklore Ensemble

Volnitza, 1991

The Russian Village Festival spanned two Pillow seasons and eight distinct companies from throughout Russia, bringing dozens of dancers halfway around the world to share their folk traditions.

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Playing 5 of 12

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Jean Butler and John Jennings

Irish Step Dancing, 1988

Though she has conducted residencies at the Pillow twice in recent years, Jean Butler made her Pillow debut more than 30 years ago, well before she achieved worldwide fame in Riverdance.

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Playing 6 of 12

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Indrani

Tarangam, 1979

As the daughter of a pioneering Indian dancer, Indrani made her U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 1960. The performance seen here was her last Pillow appearance, in which she appeared with her own daughter, Sukanya.

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Playing 7 of 12

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Carola Goya & Matteo, 1963

Both longtime Pillow faculty members, Carola Goya and Matteo were American-born specialists in Spanish dance who performed and wrote extensively in addition to teaching generations of young dancers.

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Playing 8 of 12

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La Meri

Hamsa-Rani, 1951

The subject of a new biography, La Meri and Her Life in Dance: Performing the World, she was born Russell Meriwether Hughes. Much of her pioneering work to gain recognition for world dance forms was centered at Jacob’s Pillow as early as the 1940s.

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Playing 9 of 12

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Jean Léon Destiné & Jeanne Ramon

Martinique, 1950

This footage of Haitian dancers Jean Léon Destiné and Jeanne Ramon is only one of the online resources related to Destiné, and it may also be seen as part of an extensive multi-media essay by John Perpener.

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Playing 10 of 12

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Tom Two Arrows

Iroquois Indian Dance, 1949

This rare silent film footage was given a new soundtrack by the musicians of Red Sky Performance when it was incorporated into the company’s 2019 Pillow program.

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Playing 11 of 12

Asadata Dafora

Shagola Dances of West Africa, 1942

As part of the inaugural season in the Ted Shawn Theatre, Asadata Dafora demonstrated that dances from Africa had as much relevance as classical ballet and traditional modern dance.

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Playing 12 of 12

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