The opening week of each Jacob’s Pillow season carries with it a special energy and excitement. Revisiting these performances during the rest of the year can serve as a welcome reminder that another season begins anew each June.
What Will Have Been, 2019
Although it’s a small-scaled work—just three performers and an onstage violinist—the impact of this performance was considerable. Five years had passed since this Australian ensemble’s most recent Pillow engagement (though they conducted a Pillow Lab residency in 2018), and audiences were once again astounded by Circa’s virtuosity.
Ragamala Dance Company
Written in Water, 2018
In addition to the distinction of being the opening company of the 2018 season in the Doris Duke Theatre, it was Ragamala’s first appearance at Jacob’s Pillow. The Minneapolis-based company presented a work inspired by a 2nd century Indian board game—the precursor to today’s Chutes & Ladders.
Miami City Ballet
This engagement represented a long-awaited return, as Miami City Ballet made its first Pillow appearances in nearly 20 years—and its first here under Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez. Christopher Wheeldon’s intricate and exacting choreography was performed to a Ligeti piano score, played live.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Silent Ghost, 2016
This stunning duet by Alejandro Cerrudo served as a prominent showcase for Craig Black, who studied in The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Contemporary Program in 2011 and performed for several years with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, since moving on to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. (And incidentally, Black returned in 2019 to perform this very duet with the choreographer’s wife as part of an offsite fundraiser known as The Pillow Case.)
New York Theatre Ballet
Full-evening classical ballets have become increasingly rare at the Pillow, but this one boasts an impressive pedigree, having premiered here in 1982 in its original production by the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.
Carmen de Lavallade
As I Remember It, 2014
Not only was this the opening performance of the Doris Duke Theatre’s 2014 season, but it was the world premiere of Carmen de Lavallade’s extraordinary one-woman show.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
The Lark Ascending, 2013
Opening the Ted Shawn Theatre in 2013 was a special homecoming for Dance Theatre of Harlem, which had recently been relaunched after a five-year hiatus. On the program was a reworked version of Alvin Ailey’s The Lark Ascending—the first time this work had been performed on pointe.
Mimulus Dance Company
Por Um Fio, 2012
This Brazilian company’s appearance in 2012 came at a time when they had recently been seen on television screens coast-to-coast as part of the Pillow documentary, Never Stand Still. This particular work was seen in its U.S. premiere.
Romeo and Juliet, 2011
This unconventional look at a cornerstone of the 20th century ballet repertoire returned French choreographer Joëlle Bouvier to the Pillow, where she had brought her company L’Esquisse in 1989 and 1990.
Nina Ananiashvili and the State Ballet of Georgia
Thaïs Pas de Deux, 2010
One of American Ballet Theatre’s most beloved ballerinas, Nina Ananiashvili began her international career with the Bolshoi, and returned here twice as the director of her own company, the State Ballet of Georgia.
Savion Glover, 2005
Both the 2005 Gala and the opening week of performances were headlined by Savion Glover, captured here in one of his unnamed and inimitable solos.