Always international in scope, Jacob’s Pillow has been gathering dance from around the world for decades, and these excerpts are representative though far from comprehensive.
Alicia Alonso & Erik Bruhn
Pas de deux from Giselle, Act II, 1955
The historical importance of this extended sequence from Giselle demands a closer look. Havana-born Alonso and Danish star Bruhn danced together very rarely, and this is the only online footage available of an extraordinary partnership. This 1955 Pillow appearance marks the first and only time that Alonso danced here, and fortunately both of the pas de deux that she danced with Bruhn are fully documented in the Jacob’s Pillow Archives.
Radio and Juliet, 2009
Romanian choreographer and company director Edward Clug re-imagined Romeo and Juliet in a most unconventional way, setting his full-evening work to the music of Radiohead and calling it Radio and Juliet. Pillow audiences called it “brilliant” and told their friends, resulting in droves of first-time dancegoers for this company hailing from Slovenia’s second-largest city.
Killer Pig, 2011
This was one of the most multi-cultural of all offerings during the 2011 Festival – a Norwegian company directed by a Belgian dancer, presenting two works by an Israeli choreographer (and all diplomatically covered under a French company name). Sharon Eyal’s work had previously been seen at the Pillow in the repertory of Batsheva Dance Company, and this clip focuses on the six company women.
Hofesh Shechter Company
In contrast to the all-female work by an Israeli choreographer by Carte Blanche, here’s an all-male work by another Israeli who has emerged from the fertile ground of Batsheva (though now headquartered in the UK). Uprising packs a wallop, and not just because of its hard-driving percussion score that was also devised by the multi-talented Hofesh Shechter.
The Göteborg Ballet
Episode 17, 2010
All kinds of “firsts” were associated with this particular 2010 engagement, as a venerable Swedish company was making its U.S. debut with three works, two of which had never before been seen in this country. All were inspired in some way by Ravel’s Bolero, making this a most unusual evening that was much more varied than the overall concept would seem to indicate. The adventurous and talented young Alexander Ekman’s Episode 17 is excerpted here.
Stockholm / 59° North
Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, 1997
This was the first of four Pillow appearances by a stellar offshoot of the Royal Swedish Ballet, documenting the group’s 1997 world debut engagement. The clip is excerpted from American choreographer Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, an iconic work which he made for these Swedish dancers just three years before his untimely death at age 49. It’s a meditation on the themes of love and loss, and its power can be strongly felt in even this brief minute from the dance.
The Peony Pavilion, 1999
One of the most truly historic events ever to take place at Jacob’s Pillow, the three-month residency by a sizable group of Chinese actors, musicians, and theater technicians culminated in the private showing excerpted here. The project was a high-profile production of the 1999 Lincoln Center Festival, rescheduled from the previous year when the Chinese government refused to let the artists leave the country.
Tero Saarinen Company and The Boston Camerata
Borrowed Light, 2006
Seldom has the Ted Shawn Theatre been used so evocatively as in Tero Saarinen’s haunting Borrowed Light, first seen at the Pillow in 2006 in its U.S. premiere. Inspired by the Shakers and their spirit of community and devotion, it’s ironic to see a Finnish choreographer sharing his views on a religious sect with substantial roots in Western Massachusetts.
Tense Dave, 2005
In this full-evening work entitled Tense Dave, an onstage turntable rotates continuously throughout the performance. The brief and unsettling excerpt shown here is far from average dance fare, blending physical theater, split-second timing, and sound effects to chilling effect. Because it was co-created by Australian artists Gideon Obarzanek and Lucy Guerin, this clip also offers a link to Guerin’s own company in their riveting 2010 Pillow debut.
Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker, 1952
Visions of sugarplums don’t usually dance in our heads during the summer months, but Dance Interactive now makes it possible to view Russian-born Alexandra Danilova’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” at any time of year. This 1952 clip was used in a touring exhibit celebrating America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures several years ago, but has been otherwise unseen for decades. This is just one example of the many silent films made by Carol Lynn at the Pillow during the 1940s and 50s, and the addition of a new soundtrack makes this footage come alive for a new generation.
Chui Chai, 2010
This excerpt from a fascinating contemporary Thai dance includes traditional elements, bringing a 21st century sensibility to an age-old art form. Dances from many other cultures are available in Dance Interactive, including works from Spain, India, China, Cambodia, and West Africa. Surprisingly, Pichet Klunchun’s 2010 engagement marked the first time dancers from Thailand had been presented at the Pillow, and HD footage from this history-making engagement is now available to augment the PillowTalk excerpt already posted on Pillow TV.