Providing a powerful connection with the Pillow’s roots, piano music bridges the decades from our beginnings in the 1930s to the present day. Ted Shawn’s composer/accompanist Jess Meeker can be heard in several of these selections, attesting to his 65-year relationship with Jacob’s Pillow.
Caleb Teicher and Company with Conrad Tao
More Forever, 2019
Although he’s barely seen in this clip, composer-pianist Conrad Tao was a powerful presence in performance (and you can catch a glimpse of him for about 20 seconds in the lower left corner of the screen).
Adam H. Weinert
Dance of the Ages, 2018
The most recent connection with Jess Meeker was this recreation of Dance of the Ages in the studio where the work originated, with Meeker’s music played live by longtime colleague John Sauer.
Miami City Ballet
Carousel Pas de Deux, 2017
Even though pianist Francisco Rennó was playing live for this performance, he was completely unseen by the audience, off stage right.
Just a Minute, 2014
With Rudolph Friml’s music played live, John Heginbotham performed this solo at the same event when he was presented with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
Jacoby & Pronk
Rhapsody Fantaisie, 2010
Though the music here is recorded, the intimacy of the solo piano creates the perfect mood for this sinuous duet.
Identical twin pianists, seen briefly in the opening shot, played a four-hand arrangement of Stravinsky’s score for this ingenious version of Petruchka, performed entirely by puppets.
Vers la Flamme, 1999
The Scriabin score for this full-evening work of dance-theater was performed live by the prominent concert pianist Christopher O’Riley.
Carmen de Lavallade
The Incense, 1997
Longtime Pillow accompanist John Sauer played live for this iconic Ruth St. Denis solo which had been performed so many times on this very stage by St. Denis herself.
Ten Suggestions, 1996
Ten Suggestions was one of the first works performed by Mark Morris when it was still new and he was relatively unknown, but he revisited the work here nearly fifteen years later.
Marge Champion and Blake Champion
Although Marge Champion recently died at age 101, she lives on in this touching duet with her son Blake – the only time the two of them were recorded dancing together.
Flight of the Bumblebee, 1983
This classic routine was captured on video just in time, as Collins died less than two years after this performance. The music is a four-hand arrangement of the familiar tune by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Ruth St. Denis
While Jess Meeker accompanied Ruth St. Denis many times in performance, this particular video is a modern-day mashup of a silent film and a Meeker recording.
Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker, 1941
After this film was shot (in color) by Dwight Godwin in 1941, it remained silent until Jess Meeker recorded a soundtrack for it more than thirty years later.
Ted Shawn's Men Dancers
"Mechanized Labor" from Labor Symphony, 1938
This was one of the earliest scores that Jess Meeker wrote for Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers, recreated by him in the 1980s and synchronized with a silent film that had been made nearly fifty years earlier.