Foot Music

Michelle Dorrance in ETM: The Initial Approach. Behind her: Demi Remick and Caleb Teicher. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Dorrance Dance taps out a world premiere at Jacob's Pillow July 16 through 27. These days, we’re all wired. Or wirelessly connected. Sometimes walking down the street, I play a private game called “What would Mozart think?” Would he, for instance, worry that people walking along the street with things in their ears, talking loudly into the air, were lunatics? On the other hand, would he get … [Read more...]

Footloose and Fancy Free

L to R: Daniel Ulbricht, Tyler Angle, Robert Fairchild in Jerome Robbins's Fancy Free. Photo: Christopher Duggan

New York City Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht brings a cadre of his peers to Jacob's Pillow Touring with a small pick-up company of colleagues drawn from a major ballet company must be akin to masterminding a working vacation with your pals. What will you need in the way of costumes and sets and, since you won’t be able to carry live musicians along, well-made CDs? What will you need to do to … [Read more...]

Aging, as in Fine Wine

Carmen de Lavallade in front of a picture of herself and Lester Horton. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Jacob's Pillow opens its summer season with a solo performance by Carmen de Lavallade. The Gala that opened the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s summer season was full of goodies—and by that I don’t mean just the dinner and the whooping it up on the dance floor. The program opened in the Ted Shawn Theater with the 22 students in the Pillow School’s Ballet Program performing an astounding … [Read more...]

Restless Creature

Wendy Whelan in Joshua Beamish's Waltz Epoca. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Wendy Whelan’s “Restless Creature,” duets choreographed by Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo. At Jacob’s Pillow, August 14-17. Ballet dancers tend to have short careers onstage. If they retire at around 36 (as they often do), they’ve spent as many years training to dance as they have performing. Some stay in the field as teachers, choreographers, and company … [Read more...]

Again and Again, Never the Same

Jo-anne Lee and Brian Brooks in Big City. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Brian Brooks Moving Company performs at Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, Massachusetts, July 10-14. A machine repeats its patterned moves over and over; nothing changes unless one of its parts breaks or something gets caught in the works. Human beings may repeat the same movement many times, but to use the word “same” is simply a verbal convenience. Without meaning to, they may emphasize aspects of … [Read more...]

Dancing for the Gods

Shantala Shivalingappa in her Kuchipudi solo Bhairava. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Shantala Shivalingappa's "Akasha," a program of new Kuchipudi solos, at Jacob's Pillow, July 4 through 7. It was at Jacob’s Pillow in the 1960s that I first saw examples of two dance styles that I’d never heard of: Odissi and Kuchipudi.  Indrani, that beneficent performer and promulgator of Indian dance, was giving a master class and had brought with her two male dancers, each of them … [Read more...]

A Lark Ascends

Dance Theatre of Harlem in Robert Garland's Return. Photo: Matthew Murphy

The revived Dance Theatre of Harlem performs at Jacob’s Pillow, June 19 through 23. If a repertory company starts its program with a performance of George Balanchine’s Agon, where can it possibly go from there?  Higher?  Don’t make me laugh. But whatever follows, you can get a jolt of almost electric pleasure when Dance Theatre of Harlem begins its performance in Jacob’s Pillow’s Ted Shawn … [Read more...]

Listen Well, Children

Ryan Redmond and Travis Walker upend Benjamin Behrends in McIntyre's Ladies and Gentlemen. Photo: Taylor Crichton, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow

When Trey McIntyre Project unveiled its new Ladies and Gentlemen in Jacob’s Pillow’s Ted Shawn Theater (August 8-12), you could feel a sunny haze of nostalgia settle over the audience. I’m betting that a good percentage of the spectators could have raised their voices along with the recorded score—songs from the epochal 1972 album Free to Be. . .You and Me, instigated by Marlo Thomas. Maybe—as … [Read more...]

Stepping Into Dreams

Adele Nickel in Liz Gerring's she dreams in code. Photo: Taylor Crichton, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance

The six dancers in Liz Gerring’s she dreams in code move as if tracking along known paths—or maybe it’s the animals being tracked that they resemble in their supple physicality and intent focus. Premiering last fall at the Baryshnikov Center and shown in Jacob’s Pillow’s Doris Duke Studio Theater August 15 through 19, Gerring’s wonderfully poetic work creates an ambiance through stage design, … [Read more...]

Shadow Presences, Tangible Absences

Jonah Bokaer in his Curtain. Photo: Liza Voll, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance

The back story:  Jonah Bokaer and David Hallberg were working together on a duet—the postmodern dancer-choreographer and the adventurous ballet virtuoso, the dark-haired guy and the blond one. Hallberg broke his foot shortly before the piece was to premiere at the Avignon Festival. Steps were taken. The show went on. Now I’ll shut up and talk about Curtain as it was at Jacob’s Pillow, August 1 … [Read more...]