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Onstage Musicians

Aside from the extra synergy of making music and dance simultaneously, these performance clips feature musicians onstage alongside the dancers. Some additional examples (both with and without visible musicians) may be found on the Live Music playlist.

20 performances

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Onstage Musicians

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LaTasha Barnes

The Jazz Continuum, 2021

The interplay between all of the performers in The Jazz Continuum brought this new production thrillingly to life, and audiences leapt to their feet at the conclusion of each show.

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Playing 1 of 20

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Dorrance Dance

Untitled Waveforms, 2021

Although Dorrance Dance was only able to perform on the Pillow’s Leir Stage twice in 2021 because of rain, this world premiere by Nicholas Van Young was fortunately captured on video.

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Playing 2 of 20

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Iroquois Traditional Dancers

Smoke Dance, 2021

As part of the Eastern Woodland Dances program, this commanding solo features vocalizations from the dancer as well as the onstage drummer.

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Playing 3 of 20

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Jazz Tap Ensemble

Con Alma, 1993

Renowned for the way in which their musicians and dancers collaborated, the Jazz Tap Ensemble created this work for a U.S. State Department tour just a few months before this performance.

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Playing 4 of 20

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Soh Daiko, 1989

These musicians are also the dancers, moving amidst their drums to create an excitingly kinetic performance experience.

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Playing 5 of 20

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Maya Beiser & Wendy Whelan

THE DAY, 2019

Cellist Maya Beiser initiated this project, which brought together choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer David Lang, and dancer Wendy Whelan in a poignant meditation on 9/11 and its effect on individual lives.

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Playing 6 of 20

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Ragamala Dance Company

Written in Water, 2018

These musicians were fully integrated into the colorful stage picture of Ragamala’s Written in Water, exploring the idea of spiritual ascension as it was manifested in an ancient Indian board game.

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Playing 7 of 20

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Sonya Tayeh

you'll still call me by name, 2018

Now recognized with a Tony Award for her work on Broadway’s Moulin Rouge, Sonya Tayeh brought The Bengsons into the stage picture with her innately theatrical eye.

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Playing 8 of 20

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Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen

The Bright Motion, 2015

In this rarely-seen duet created especially for City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, choreographer Justin Peck placed Michael Mizrahi and his piano onstage in the time-honored tradition of “piano ballets.”

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Playing 9 of 20

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Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance Program Ensemble

"The Battle of Yorktown" from Hamilton, 2014

Before Hamilton took Broadway by storm, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler tried out some of his ideas for the show on the dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, offering a sneak peek as part of this Jazz Happening performance.

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Playing 10 of 20

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O Vertigo Danse

La vie qui bat (The Beat of Life), 2013

Glimpsed several times in this clip are the marimba players who performed Steve Reich’s iconic “Drumming” alongside the dancers of this Montreal-based company.

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Playing 11 of 20

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Tero Saarinen Company and The Boston Camerata

Borrowed Light, 2006

With both the singers of The Boston Camerata and Tero Saarinen’s dancers costumed similarly all in black, the performers were one cohesive unit. In a rare occurrence, the same work received an encore engagement in 2012.

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Playing 12 of 20

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Vanaver Caravan

Appalachian Clog Dance from Earthbeat! A Journey, 2010

With an incredibly diverse repertory of dances from throughout the world, here the Vanaver Caravan presents a vernacular American dance form incorporating an onstage fiddler.

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Playing 13 of 20

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Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie

See #1, 2007

Echoing the Vanaver Caravan’s onstage fiddler, here’s a classical violinist in partnership with Laurence Lemieux, premiering a new work by James Kudelka.

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Playing 14 of 20

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Salia nï Seydou

Figninto, 2002

All of the performers in Figninto are fully integrated into the work, visibly taking their cues from one another—as when one of the musicians takes up his lolo (or African arch) in the middle of this clip.

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Playing 15 of 20

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Urban Tap

Caravane, 2001

The exciting interaction between trumpeter Fabio Morgera and headliner Tamango take center stage in this excerpt from a full-evening work, with live video projections providing impressionistic highlights.

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Playing 16 of 20

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Dianne McIntyre & Lester Bowie

Invincible Flower, 1998

The influential jazz trumpeter and composer Lester Bowie died the year following this Pillow-commissioned collaboration with Dianne McIntyre, making this footage of their work-in-progress all the more precious.

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Playing 17 of 20

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María Benítez Teatro Flamenco

Solea, 1996

Almost all of the entries featured in the ¡Flamenco! Playlist feature onstage musicians, attesting to the strong connections between music and dance in this particular genre—powerfully exemplified here by María Benítez.

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Playing 18 of 20

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Marge Champion and Blake Champion

Dancing, 1986

Gathered around the piano as if at an informal musicale, all the performers at this one-time event were celebrating the life of director-choreographer Gower Champion—the only time that his former partner Marge ever performed publicly with their son Blake.

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Playing 19 of 20

Asadata Dafora

Shagola Dances of West Africa, 1942

This rare footage from the very first season in the Ted Shawn Theatre attests to the long-standing practice of musicians sharing the stage with dancers.

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Playing 20 of 20

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