Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
Jacobs Pillow — Summer 2011
August 8th Update
By Elyse Sommer
The program, under the umbrella title of The Disorder Program, seeded a tsunami of word-of-mouth raves such as "the best dance performance I've seen all season" and "the best and most unusual ballet dancing I've seen-- ever!" Not surprisingly, tickets were as hard to come by as agreement among the current crop of Democrats and Republicans.
With its mix of astounding leaps and pirouettes and comic mime story telling this is indeed a one of a kind ensemble that's as adept at acting -- especially Marcel Marceau type comic riffs -- as dancing. The dancing was classical ballet but shaded with touches of modern dance. The physical humor that permeated the program included one dancer leaving the stage to hide from his partners in the audience. Each vignette had a story to tell (in the theater performances that are my regular beat-- this would fall under the rubric of one-acts, or ten-minute plays. For example, in a piece entitled Epiphenomenes we see a couple push-pulled together and apart by a manipulative Trickster. Me2, A very poignant piece inspired by a bilingual poem " Me Too" by holocaust survivor Raymond Federman is a choreographic treatment of Fderman's thems of identity, duplication, schizophrenia and confusion. A terrific solo piece was a choreographic translation of a famous song by Jacques Brel.
I could go on raving about this truly thrilling program. My only regret is that I can't urge you to rush to Jacob's Pillow to experience it for yourself. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the Pillow's artistic director Ella Baff can persuade this branch of the Paris Opera Ballet to return for another visit. In the meantime, there's plenty on the menu for the rest of August.
Coming up at the Ted Shawn Main Stage: s the return of long-time Pillow favorites Trisha Brown Dance Company, August 10-August. . .Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, August 17-August 21, 2011. . .Mark Morris Dance Group, August 24-August 28, 2011 . . .and A Jazz Happening August 21, 2011
Forthcoming to the smaller Doris Duke: Jodi Melnick and David Neumann in a world premiere Pillow commission, August 10-August 14, 2011 . . . David Dorfman August 17-21, 2011. . . Kyle and Camille, August 24-August 28, 2011.
For full details see www.jacobspillow.org.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Ella Baff (The Pillow, like three of the Berkshires' major arts organizations is headed by a woman) you can be sure that each season will give audiences a chance to see the work of a new group or new work by companies familiar to Pillow regulars. With Shakespeare's plays showing up here there and everywhere at Curtainup, I was sorry to miss a chance to see one of the Bard's favorites, Romeo and Juliet set to music by the Ballet Genève to launch the Ted Shawn season. (I hear it was magnificent).
What makes "The Pillow Experience" unique, of course, is the lovely wooded setting is awash in history, going back to the 18th Century when it was a family farm that became a station in the Underground Railroad during the mid-1850s. In terms of its history as a dance mecca, that story dates back to the 1930s when Ted Shawn turned it into a school and performance space for dancers.
For the full menu of what's happening at the Pillow, check out the Jacob's Pillow web site.
Visit CurtainUp's Friends
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company
Berkshire Hikes &
The Berkshire Book