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Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Winners

Ever since the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award was established in 2007, some of the dance world’s most innovative creative artists have been selected for this honor.

11 performances

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Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Winners

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Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

Hallelujah: In Praise of Fertile Fields, 2000

Liz Lerman, recipient of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2017, introduced an important era of radical inclusion in dance. Her artistic research brings various publics into the work, tackling topics of developmental biology and astrophysics to the physical and psychological wounds of war. From the multigenerational ensemble of the former Liz Lerman Dance Exchange to her more recent “necessary, vital, and…uplifting” (Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun) projects, her work exhibits “expansive range, emotional depth and singular beauty” (Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post).

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Camille A. Brown & Dancers

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, 2017

Camille A. Brown, recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2016, returned with her company in 2017 for its first engagement in the Ted Shawn Theatre.  Camille A. Brown’s choreography has received extraordinary recognition for a young artist, and in 2006 she became the first woman to receive the Princess Grace Award in Choreography. Since then, she has created works for companies across the country, including two commissions for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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Liz Gerring Dance Company

glacier, 2015

Recipient of the 2015 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, Gerring brought her company back to the Pillow that year in glacier. From its inception in 1998, Liz Gerring Dance Company has been exploring non-narrative, abstract movement. The company is noted for its close collaborations with contemporary visual artists as well as a longtime association with electronic music composer Michael J. Schumacher.

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Dance Heginbotham

Chalk and Soot, 2014

When John Heginbotham won the 2014 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, he further cemented a Pillow relationship that had begun in 1990 when he first came as a student in Bessie Schönberg’s choreography workshop.  In the same season when he won the award, his company presented the world premiere of Chalk and Soot.

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Dorrance Dance

The Blues Project, 2013

2013’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner was Michelle Dorrance, seen here in a choice solo from the world premiere engagement of her Blues Project with music by the incomparable Toshi Reagon. Audiences fell in love with this charismatic performer, and here you can see both a solo passage and a group section woven together to provide a taste of the overall production.

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Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion

Pavement, 2013

Barely a month after this excerpt from Pavement was filmed, Abraham.In.Motion returned for a Creative Development Residency, and soon after that the MacArthur Foundation announced that Kyle Abraham would receive one of its 2013 “Genius” grants. Clearly the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recognized a young artist on the way up!

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Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM

Dark Matters, 2012

While an excerpt from 2011 Award-winner Crystal Pite’s Dark Matters has already been featured on our site for some time now, this additional clip from the same work is a true gem. Pite herself stepped back into the role she created for one last time during the final performance of this extraordinary dance. And a new excerpt from the first act of Dark Matters is now also available here.

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Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company

Story / Time, 2012

The 2010 Award-winning Bill T. Jones himself held center stage in his fascinatingly complex conception from 2012 entitled Story/Time. This engaging and ever-changing work, inspired by John Cage’s Indeterminacy, juxtaposed one-minutes stories told (and sometimes sung) by Jones with the intricate dancing of his company members.

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Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Sounddance, 2009

The 2009 performance seen here was a truly historic one – from the last engagement during Cunningham’s lifetime, and the last that he himself saw of his dancers. The performance was streamed to his laptop so that he could view it at home in his final days, and you can see this thrilling moment from Sounddance to help remember a towering innovator of modern dance.

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Alonzo King's LINES Ballet

Migration, 2008

Though Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet has been a frequent Pillow attraction since their initial engagement in 2000, his work only entered Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive in 2014.  This excerpt from Migration reveals the superhuman qualities of King’s dancers and demonstrates why he was singled out for the 2008 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.

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Big Dance Theater

Supernatural Wife, 2011

The winners of the initial 2007 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, work collectively under the banner of Big Dance Theater. This 2011 excerpt from Supernatural Wife employs their trademark mash-up of sources and influences, combining Greek drama and the screenplay of a 1940 screwball comedy.

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