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Men Dancers

In honor of the trailblazing efforts of Pillow founder Ted Shawn, these videos are resonant of the Pillow’s own beginnings, featuring performances largely by men—as well as some of Shawn’s own dances. The first five dance excerpts are new to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive.

14 performances

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Men Dancers

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Boston Ballet

Playlist (EP) (excerpts), 2019

This is a mashup of two sections from William Forsythe’s newest work for the Boston Ballet, premiered in March 2019. The final section, entitled “Impossible,” incorporates some impossibly virtuosic movement for Boston’s men.

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Playing 1 of 14

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Adam H. Weinert

Dance of the Ages, 2018

Set to an original score by Ted Shawn’s composer-accompanist, Jess Meeker, this full-evening work hadn’t been performed for nearly 80 years when it was revived in September 2018. Choreographer Adam Weinert staged the work in the Pillow’s Bakalar Studio, where it had first been performed in 1938.

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Playing 2 of 14

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Hālau I Ka Wēkiu

E Pele, E Pele, 2008

Depicting a traditional chant for the saga of the fire goddess Pele, this work was performed at the Pillow to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the O’ahu-based school and company seen here.

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Playing 3 of 14

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David Dorfman Dance

Out of Season (The Athletes Project), 1997

The late Yankees pitcher and author Jim Bouton is seen in this duet from a David Dorfman work that was created to celebrate athletes and the interactions between them. Dorfman himself was an athlete before discovering dance in college, a path that reflects the experience of Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers.

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Playing 4 of 14

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The Flying Karamazov Brothers

The Gypsy and His Son, 1985

Part of a tradition sometimes known as “new vaudeville,” this group first came to prominence in the 1970s—a time when Bill Irwin, Avner the Eccentric, and other unique performers burst onto the scene.

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Playing 5 of 14

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Ballet BC

Aniel, 2013

While Emily Molnar’s Aniel includes an evenly-matched cast of men and women, this quartet shows off the men of the Vancouver-based company. Molnar took her inspiration from composer John Zorn’s “Book of Angels,” creating a joyous work that is rich with the whimsical and the absurd.

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Playing 6 of 14

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Compagnie Käfig

AGWA, 2013

This 2013 engagement by a specially-assembled group of Brazilian dancers was a rarity, offering an encore of the same two works that brought down the house during the previous summer. Here the dynamic AGWA explores some of the properties of water in the most dynamic way imaginable.

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Playing 7 of 14

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Companhia Urbana de Dança

ID: Entidades, 2013

Singled out by the New York Times as one of 2013’s standout events, this Brazilian troupe was acclaimed for the way it “reshapes hip-hop moves in wonderfully subtle ways.” There’s one stellar female amid the crowd of men, with all bringing gritty street dancing to the stage in an exciting way.

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Playing 8 of 14

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Hofesh Shechter Company

Uprising, 2008

Uprising has entered the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, but here it is seen as performed by the choreographer’s own dancers. A moment from this very dance video is featured in the 2015 feature film Desert Dancer, as part of a montage of clips discovered online by a young Iranian dancer.

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Playing 9 of 14

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Black Grace

Minoi, 2004

This New Zealand company swept Pillow audiences by storm when they made their 2014 U.S. debut in the Doris Duke Theatre, mirroring a work first seen here more than 70 years earlier: Ted Shawn’s Maori War Haka.

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Playing 10 of 14

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Jacob's Pillow's Men Dancers, 1992

This company was assembled especially to commemorate the centennial of Ted Shawn’s birth in 1891, and it focused on all of the advances made since Shawn’s pioneering efforts in the 1930s.

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Playing 11 of 14

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Pilobolus

Ocellus, 1985

The cast of this early signature piece includes one of the company’s founders, Michael Tracy, and it demonstrates the aesthetic that originally put this iconic group on the map.

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Playing 12 of 14

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Norman Walker

Kinetic Molpai, 1962

This revival of Shawn’s iconic group work for his Men Dancers was the first time that any Shawn work from that era had been seen since the company disbanded more than 20 years earlier. To stage the work and perform his own role, Shawn entrusted Norman Walker, who would go on to direct Jacob’s Pillow for five crucial seasons in the 1970s.

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Playing 13 of 14

Ted Shawn's Men Dancers

Sixth Prelude from The Well Tempered Clavichord, 1933

This brief snippet of extremely rare footage documents the very first season at Jacob’s Pillow, with the Men Dancers performing one of Shawn’s “music visualizations” in the space now known as the Bakalar Studio.

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Playing 14 of 14

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