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New in the Duke

In recognition of the tragic fire that destroyed the Doris Duke Theatre, here’s a look back at a few of the moments of discovery that exemplified this structure during its thirty seasons. Even though this is one of our most extensive playlists yet, these excerpts represent only a fraction of the premieres, commissions, and international debuts that audiences have enjoyed since the Duke’s inaugural season as the Studio/Theatre in 1990.

20 performances

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New in the Duke

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Sara Mearns and Honji Wang

No. 1, 2019

After premiering at the 2017 Pillow Gala and presentations as part of Fall for Dance at New York’s City Center, this duet was further developed as part of the groundbreaking presentation Sara Mearns: Beyond Ballet.

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Playing 1 of 20

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Maya Beiser & Wendy Whelan

THE DAY, 2019

Choreographed by Lucinda Childs, this world premiere was conceived by the cellist Maya Beiser as a response to two works written for her by David Lang, inspired by the events of September 11, 2001.

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Playing 2 of 20

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Ephrat Asherie Dance

Odeon, 2018

This commissioned work was partially created in Pillow Lab residencies conducted in the Duke, the site of its world premiere, where Asherie had also presented Step 4.2 in 2014.

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Playing 3 of 20

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Dormeshia, Jason Samuels Smith, & Derick K. Grant

And Still You Must Swing, 2016

One of this work’s creators, Jason Samuels Smith, had previously headlined a two-week engagement in the Duke, while the title was a quote from Jimmy Slyde, who enjoyed his own deep history with the Pillow.

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Playing 4 of 20

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Dance Heginbotham

Chalk and Soot, 2014

A Pillow student during the Duke’s first season, John Heginbotham also premiered The Principles of Uncertainty in this theatre, and presented Twin in his debut engagement.

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Playing 5 of 20

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Carmen de Lavallade

As I Remember It, 2014

This full-evening work premiere showcased the remarkable career of Carmen de Lavallade, who had previously appeared in the Duke with Gus Solomons jr in PARADIGM.

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Playing 6 of 20

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Dorrance Dance

The Blues Project, 2013

Although The Blues Project later came to the Ted Shawn Theatre stage, it premiered in the Duke, which also hosted the first performances of Dorrance’s ETM: The Initial Approach.

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Playing 7 of 20

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Jessica Lang Dance

Within the Space I Hold, 2013

Before this Duke world premiere, Jessica Lang Dance had made its company debut in this space in 2012 and then later developed The Wanderer here.

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Playing 8 of 20

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Club Guy & Roni

The Language of Walls (on the other side of day), 2007

In the U.S. debut of a Netherlands-based company known as Club Guy & Roni, they shared a funny, poignant, and wild theatrical dance about sisterhood and personal liberation.

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Playing 9 of 20

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Black Grace

Minoi, 2004

Although their scheduled 2020 return to the Pillow was regrettably cancelled along with the rest of the season, New Zealand’s Black Grace had made its acclaimed U.S. debut 16 years earlier in the Duke.

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Playing 10 of 20

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Kitt Johnson

Stigma, 2003

As part of a program shared with the South African soloist Vincent Mantsoe, Denmark’s Kitt Johnson made her U.S. debut in the award-winning solo seen here.

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Playing 11 of 20

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Wally Cardona Quartet

Morph: Live Remix, 2002

Intermingling audiences and performers in ways that were echoed in works by Faye Driscoll and Compagnia TPO, this presentation invited audiences to “walk, sit, or stand anywhere in the space.”

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Playing 12 of 20

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Big Dance Theater

Shunkin, 2002

Big Dance Theater always managed to transform the Doris Duke stage into a unique environment, not only in Shunkin, but also in Supernatural Wife and Alan Smithee Directed This Play.

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Playing 13 of 20

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Urban Bush Women

HairStories, 2001

This episodic work grew out of a series of community activities in Berkshire County and elsewhere, all centered around the relationship between black women and their hair.

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Playing 14 of 20

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Jane Comfort and Company

Asphalt, 2001

An especially theatrical choreographer, Jane Comfort created the first act of Asphalt in the Doris Duke Theatre, later both creating and presenting Underground River in the same space.

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Playing 15 of 20

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Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

Hallelujah: In Praise of Fertile Fields, 2000

Part of a monumental five-year effort known as The Hallelujah Project, this work was deeply rooted in the Pillow, growing out of a series of residencies and drawing upon various aspects of Pillow history.

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Playing 16 of 20

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Dianne McIntyre & Lester Bowie

Invincible Flower, 1998

Billed as a work-in-progress at the time of this presentation, Invincible Flower was presented on the same program as the premiere of McIntyre’s solo, Willow Song.

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Playing 17 of 20

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Meredith Monk / The House

Magic Frequencies, 1998

Another work-in-progress presented the week before Dianne McIntyre’s engagement, Meredith Monk’s Magic Frequencies came just a year after Monk’s official Pillow debut in Volcano Songs.

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Playing 18 of 20

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Min Tanaka & Cecil Taylor

I...Sit, 1996

Opening the doors at the rear of the Doris Duke stage was a rare occurrence, but it can be seen in this improvisatory duet as well as in the Pillow debut of NW Dance Project more than twenty years later.

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Playing 19 of 20

Mark Morris Dance Group

Falling Down Stairs, 1994

Utilizing the Doris Duke Theatre as a soundstage rather than a performance venue, Mark Morris and Yo-Yo Ma conceived of this dance with this particular space in mind.

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Playing 20 of 20

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