Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Returns for New Season of Groundbreaking Programming

Andrew Weeks

The popular festival touches down in Becket, MA for its annual series of experimental performances.

If Tanglewood is a kind of summer paradise for classical music fans, Jacob’s Pillow is its Terpsichorean counterpart, a utopia of dance during the warmer months. At the annual festival, an uncommonly wide variety of international companies and artists, U.S. company debuts, newly commissioned works, and pieces engaging with dance history come to “The Pillow”’s bucolic complex of theaters.

Christopher Duggan

This year, the troupes stopping by come from Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Australia, Scotland and beyond, in addition to companies from closer locales like Minneapolis, San Francisco, Chicago and others. New work from the four choreographers who’ve developed pieces through the Pillow Lab initiative will get a spotlight. Several interdisciplinary works will go onstage, like Ephrat Ahserie Dance’s b-girl-led "Odeon," with live music by Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth; indie folk duo The Bengsons’ “dance symphony” for onstage musicians accompanying Sonya Tayeh’s "you’ll still call me by name"; and various works by Leonard Bernstein accompanying a Jerome Robbins program performed by Stars of American Ballet.

Christopher Duggan

Throughout the festival, other works continue to push the boundary of what constitutes concert dance, with Monica Bill Barnes’ "Happy Hour" reimagining a performance space as an offbeat office party and Asherie hosting an All Styles Dance Battle. Before the season ends with a program curated by the enterprising New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, it’s impossible to pick a bad day to stop by the Pillow–with so many extraordinary dancers and choreographers coming through, this is simply where the world’s best dance lives for the season. 358 George Carter Rd.