New works bring a special sense of excitement and the thrill of discovery — a sensation that visitors to Jacob’s Pillow have come to expect.
First Fall from Restless Creature, 2013
Wendy Whelan demonstrated her rapport with four different partners in the remarkable Pillow-commissioned Restless Creature project, pairing her with the choreographers themselves.
Jessica Lang Dance
Within the Space I Hold, 2013
If you look closely at the left side of your screen in this video, you’ll see composer Jakub Ciupinski waving his hands as he creates the music for this new work with an unusual instrument akin to a theremin. And make sure to watch until the very end of this clip to witness an eye-catching visual effect that lights up the central soloist in a totally unique way.
A world premiere of full-evening entertainment especially crafted for Jacob’s Pillow and titled Le Pillow Thirteen brought this group of outstanding dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet back in 2013 after their U.S. debut here two years earlier. Quatre had been performed at the Pillow before, though this male quartet was rearranged into a trio in 2011 because of an injury. Either way, it’s a knockout!
Johan Renvall & Madeleine Onne
Little Improvisations, 1983
This charming duet by Antony Tudor was sadly not filmed when it was premiered at the Pillow by Yvonne Chouteau and Gilbert Reed in 1953, a season when Tudor was on the Pillow faculty. But it was captured on video thirty years later when ABT’s Johan Renvall and the Royal Swedish Ballet’s Madeleine Onne presented a rare revival of this little-known work. Tudor’s intention was to evoke the spirit of two young people at play on a rainy day, as you can see here.
The Joffrey Ballet
Son of Chamber Symphony, 2012
A highlight of this company’s long-awaited return to the Pillow in 2012 was the world premiere of Stanton Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony, set to the music of John Adams. The Australian-born Welch is director of the Houston Ballet, and had created a premiere for the Ballet Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow the previous summer.
Kyle Abraham & Camille A. Brown
How We Process, 2011
This premiere marked the first time that Kyle Abraham and Camille A. Brown had shared the stage, collaborating on a joint duet called How We Process for a 2011 engagement that also included works that each choreographer made for his or her own company. This excerpt has been tweaked a bit since it was first shared online, so take another look.
Jane Comfort and Company
Underground River, 2011
This excerpt from Underground River is not from the premiere in 1998, but it is a work that was commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and presented here as recently as 2011 when this moment of inspired whimsy was captured on video. The central dancing figure seen here is actually a puppet devised by the inspired Basil Twist.
Trey McIntyre Project
Wild Sweet Love, 2010
Audiences at Jacob’s Pillow developed a close relationship with Trey McIntyre and his dancers from their first appearance here in 2005 until the company’s farewell appearances here in 2014. This premiere was inspired by the groundbreaking Marlo Thomas project known as Free to Be…You and Me, and Thomas herself was present for one of the first Pillow performances.
Jessica Lang Dance
Lines Cubed, 2012
Not only was this the world premiere of Jessica Lang’s Lines Cubed, but her company made its official debut with this engagement. It’s easy to see the influence of Piet Mondrian in the visual look of this work, and equally apparent is Lang’s sense of compositional rigor, nurtured through her studies with Bessie Schönberg and her performances with Twyla Tharp.
WITHIN (Labyrinth Within), 2012
One of the most talked-about premieres of the 2012 season, WITHIN (Labyrinth Within) featured several prominent ballet dancers onstage – including choreographer Pontus Lidberg – and the iconic Wendy Whelan as a larger-than-life screen presence. This dance’s innovations included onstage actions mirroring what was seen onscreen and vice versa.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Orbo Novo, 2009
One of the most prominent Pillow premieres in recent seasons, the 2009 Orbo Novo brought together red-hot European choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Polish composer Szymon Brzóska for a full-evening work performed with live music. Inspired by Jill Bolte Taylor’s book about the experience of having a stroke, Orbo Novo also boasted a remarkable set by award-winning theatrical designer Alexander Dodge.
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Hallelujah: In Praise of Fertile Fields, 2000
The wistfully powerful text in this commissioned work was drawn directly from the diary of Esther Miller, who spent the summer of 1942 as the Pillow’s cook. Hearing her words brought to life decades later reminds us of the importance of documentation and how it can be used to thrilling effect in the creation of new work. This piece was part of Liz Lerman’s far-reaching performance series known as the Hallelujah project.
Jacob's Pillow Dancers
Come On Home, 1984
Two of Mark Morris’s first assignments at Jacob’s Pillow were commissions to create new works for ballet and jazz students, each presented for a full week of performances in the Ted Shawn Theatre in 1983 and 1984. The excerpt seen here is from his second Pillow commission, a jazz work called Come On Home which has never been revived or restaged. The fact that you can see a bit of it here is one more reason to be thankful for video documentation!