Debuts Al Fresco
The outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage has been the site of many Pillow debuts, as were the two outdoor stages that preceded this venue in the same spot. These videos span the first four decades of a quintessential Pillow location.
The Jazz Continuum, 2021
Although LaTasha Barnes had performed at the Pillow with another company at the 2019 Gala, this marked her debut leading her own ensemble.
Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company featuring Sara Mearns
Rose Petals, 2019
Lori Belilove participated in a PillowTalk in 2008, but this performance marked her company’s first Pillow appearance.
When Breath Becomes Air, 2019
This work by Bryan Arias marked the Pillow debut of Charlotte Ballet, though they had performed at the Pillow in 1970 under their original name, North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Canadian choreographer/dancer Emma Portner is known for her online viral contemporary dance films and collaborations with artists like Justin Bieber and Elliot Page.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Sones Jalicienses, 2016
After making their Pillow debut in the performance seen here, Calpulli returned two years later for another appearance on the outdoor stage.
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater
To close their Pillow debut engagement, Ensemble Español presented this signature work by their founder, Dame Libby Komaiko.
For Nina, 2013
In this debut engagement, b-girl Ephrat Asherie presented an ode to Nina Simone along with three group works.
Ko & Edge Co.
Legendary Butoh artist Ko Murobishi (1947-2015) improvised this solo in connection with his company’s Pillow debut.
Sunhwa Chung / Ko-Ryo Dance Theater
Of Love and Memories, 2007
Sunhwa Chung’s choreography reflects her background in traditional Korean dance as well as her training in ballet and modern techniques.
Kun-Yang Lin Dancers
Kun-Yang Lin dedicated the solo seen here “For my father and those we have lost.”
For the Children of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 2003
Pina Bausch created this dance especially for the talents of German dancer Lutz Förster, who was once described as a cross between Fred Astaire and David Bowie.
The Dream of Heod and Miesra, 1995
While Homer Avila first came to the Pillow as a student in 1977, this marked his official debut as a performer with Edisa Weeks.
Soh Daiko, 1989
The taiko is a Japanese drum, and this is the first taiko group to be established on the East Coast.
State of Darkness, 1988
This dynamic solo set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” received renewed attention after a it was revived for a succession of prominent soloists at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2020.
Nine Short Dances about the Defense Budget and Other Military Matters, 1986
More than 30 years after this Pillow debut engagement, Liz Lerman was the recipient of the 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
Rites of Spring
Ballet BC, Martha Graham Dance Company, Compagnie Heddy Maalem, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 + 2 others
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, 1984
There has been a resurgence of interest in Blondell Cummings since her death in 2015, including an exhibition at the Getty Research Institute.