As January 2011 approaches, tomorrow’s great dancers and choreographers are eyeing the audition schedule for the School at Jacob’s Pillow and hoping they might be able to beat the odds and make the cut. It is said that one summer at the Pillow School can be so intense that it is easily the equal of four years of college dance where the pace is slower and less challenging.
I have sat in on some of the classes, both by resident masters of dance, and visiting companies. To see jazz and ballet students do a flamenco session, picking up on the essentials of that form is amazing enough, but to see many of the same dancers take to the inside/out stage a few hours later to perform the repertory they learned is simply amazing. And that is what makes the time dancers spend at the Pillow so uplifting. You work, live and eat with the world’s greatest dancers, choreographers and scholars of dance every day you are there.
This video, from 2009, pretty accurately depicts the variety of specialties that are available to students at the School at Jacob’s Pillow.
FOUR PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT PROGRAMS
LED BY WORLD-RENOWNED ARTISTS
DURING JACOB’S PILLOW DANCE FESTIVAL 2011
The School at Jacob’s Pillow, a world renowned center for professional dance training, has announced its four 2011 Professional Advancement Programs in Ballet, Samba, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance. These programs take place at Jacob’s Pillow and are led by acclaimed artists, choreographers, artistic directors, and other active professionals in the field. For an international mix of pre-professional students and professional dancers, these Programs offer an incomparable mix of studio, performance, and Festival experiences, with classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions six days a week. 2011 Program Directors include internationally celebrated ballet luminary Anna-Marie Holmes, Artistic Director of Mimulus Dance Company Jomar Mesquita, Ailey School and Juilliard faculty member and contemporary dance mentor Milton Myers, and Broadway veteran and choreographer Chet Walker.
Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historical Landmark, is located in the picturesque Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Each year, up to 100 dancers from approximately 1,500 who apply are invited to take part in the four Professional Advancement Programs of The School: Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance. Dancers immerse themselves in the multi-faceted culture of Jacob’s Pillow by attending Festival events, including performances, talks, exhibits, community classes, tours, and master classes by performing artists; studying in the Archives, one of the field’s most treasured dance resources; and by interacting with peers and living legends of the world-wide dance community.“We help dancers create an empowering and rewarding career, and we take this goal seriously,” comments “J.R.” Glover, Director of Education at Jacob’s Pillow. “The School at Jacob’s Pillow offers a safe and nurturing studio environment, a faculty of renowned artists who coach and mentor, resources like the Pillow Archives, and an international community of students, faculty, and Festival performers. These tools allow dancers to take their art form to the next level.”
Notable alumni of The School include Artistic Director of Royal Danish Ballet Nikolaj Hübbe, Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels, celebrated choreographer and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Meredith Monk, Director of Choreography at Merce Cunningham Dance Company Robert Swinston, and So You Think You Can Dance winner Joshua Allen. Others appear regularly in Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch,” on Broadway, and in major companies all over the world. Twenty-one alumni of The School at Jacob’s Pillow participated as performers and choreographers during Festival 2010.
Auditions and Application:
Auditions and a written application are required for admittance. Video auditions (by DVD or an online video hosting website) are available for all programs. Applicants for Ballet and Samba programs are required to audition by video only.
National and international in person auditions take place January through March for Contemporary and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance Programs; applicants for those programs are encouraged to submit a video audition if unable to attend an in person audition. Led by internationally-acclaimed artists, in person auditions are structured as Master Classes with no cuts, and provide an excellent opportunity to gain audition experience, take a professional class, and learn about The School from Jacob’s Pillow staff. Open to advanced dancers, ages 15 and up.
See www.jacobspillow.org/education for specific audition and application guidelines by program.
Contemporary in person audition schedule as follows:
Sunday, January 9 – Miami, FL, New World School of the Arts, led by Camille A. Brown
Sunday, January 23 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios, led by Milton Myers
Saturday, February 5 – Los Angeles, CA, The Colburn School
Sunday, February 20 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios
Saturday, March 26 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios led by Milton Myers
Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance in person audition schedule as follows:
Saturday, January 8 – Miami, FL, New World School of the Arts led by Chet Walker
Saturday, January 22 – New York, NY, Ripley-Grier Studios
Monday, January 31 – Los Angeles, CA, Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Saturday, February 19 – New York, NY, Pearl Studios
Sunday, March 27 – New York, NY, Chelsea Studios
Scholarships and academic credit are available. Prospective students should visit www.jacobspillow.org/education or call 413.243.9919 for more information regarding the audition and application process.
Scholarships are made possible by The Fund for Jacob’s Pillow and annual donor support of The School. Dancers who demonstrate financial need may be eligible for partial or full scholarships; including, among many, the Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence at Jacob’s Pillow. For scholarship details, visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/audition-apply/scholarships.php.
2011 Professional Advancement Programs
Ballet, June 13–26
Ballet luminary and recipient of the Dance Magazine Award, Anna-Marie Holmes with other distinguished faculty including Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, and Dennis Marshall, co-chairman of the Washington Academy of Performing Arts, among others, prepare dancers for the rigor of today’s ballet companies. Stanton Welch, Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, will create a world premiere on the dancers, to be performed at the Festival’s Season Opening Gala on June 18. Dancers will receive coaching in renowned classical solo, pas de deux, and ensemble work in preparation for a public showing on June 26 as part of the Festival’s Inside/Out series. Musicality, style characteristics, and history of the repertoire being learned will also be taught throughout the program. For additional faculty bios visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/faculty/.
Samba, June 27–July 10
Led by Jomar Mesquita, Artistic Director of Mimulus, one of Brazil’s leading dance companies, the Samba Program will explore innovative technique in daily classes of Samba no Pé (solo) and Samba de Salão or Samba de Gafieira (couples). The artist faculty will share their extensive knowledge of the history, folklore, and evolution impacting the development of Samba through generations and cultures during classes and video viewing sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to perform in public showings on July 2 and 9 on the outdoor Inside/Out stage. For additional faculty bios visithttp://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/faculty/.
Contemporary, July 11-July 31
Milton Myers, The Ailey School faculty member and resident choreographer of Philadanco, leads a faculty of master class artists and guest choreographers to prepare dancers to meet expectations of today’s leading artistic directors. Renowned choreographers slated to create new work on students or teach excerpts of their signature repertoire include international choreographer Stijn Celis, Artistic Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza 2 (CND2) Tony Fabre, and 2009 Princess Grace Award Winner and Artistic Director of Gallim Dance Andrea Miller. Dancers have daily classes in a wide range of movement vocabularies led by an esteemed group of artists including: Director of The Juilliard Dance Division Lawrence Rhodes, former Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company teacher Pam Pribisco, rehearsal director for multiple Canadian dance companies Ami Shulman, and ballet instructor of The Ailey School, Marymount Manhattan College, and The Juilliard School Francisco Martinez. Participants will perform in public showings on July 16, 23, and 30 as part of the Festival’s Inside/Out series. For additional faculty bios visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/faculty/.
Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, August 1-22
Artistic Director of WALKERDANCE and Fosse conceiver Chet Walker, along with veteran Broadway artist Bill Hastings and current Broadway performer Brad Musgrove, will create original works on participants. Leading performers and Broadway artists will teach classes and coach dancers in movement and vocal performance skills. Daily classes will include both group and private vocal training sessions with Ric Ryder and Teri Ralston. Afternoon and evening dance rehearsals will be held in collaboration with professional musicians, and seminars in audition and career-building will be led by artist faculty. Excerpts of work learned each week will be performed alongside a live band August 6, 13, and 20 on the outdoor Inside/Out stage and the full works will be performed at A Jazz Happening, a benefit for The School at Jacob’s Pillow performed with Broadway guest artists in the Ted Shawn Theatre on August 21. For additional faculty bios visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/faculty/.
The School at Jacob’s Pillow is one of America’s most prestigious training centers for dance, encompassing four professional advancement programs in Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance. An integral part of Jacob’s Pillow, The School draws program participants and acclaimed artist faculty from all corners of the globe and is one of only five organizations in the United States selected for the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative award, a collaboration between the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, Inc. Through this initiative, the Pillow has been able to establish The Fund for Jacob’s Pillow School Endowment to ensure the availability of scholarships, world-class faculty, and free access to all Festival performances and events for all faculty and students.
About Jacob’s Pillow: The 2011 Festival runs June 18 through August 28 and features more than 300 ticketed and free events and offerings. Founded by dance legend Ted Shawn in 1933, Jacob’s Pillow marks its 79th season in 2011. The Pillow is home to a world-renowned international dance Festival that presents dance annually on three performance stages for nearly three months. The Pillow also supports artists to create new work through commissions and Creative Development Residencies. The School at Jacob’s Pillow encompasses Professional Advancement programs for dancers as well as an Intern Program that trains young professionals in all areas of production and arts administration. The Pillow’s rare and extensive Archives, open year-round to the public free of charge,chronicles the art form of dance in film, video, photographs, oral histories, correspondence, books, costumes, posters, audiotapes, and scrapbooks. Jacob’s Pillow’s year-round CommunityPrograms enrich the lives of children and adults in area schools and Festival studios, and are yet another part of the Pillow’s cultural legacy. Jacob’s Pillow is the first and only dance entity in the United States to be declared a National Historic Landmark for the significance of its contribution to America’s culture—past and present. The Pillow’s historic 163-acre site was originally a family farm in the late 1700s. In the 1800s, the Pillow was known as a station on the Underground Railroad. In 2007, it was formally dedicated as a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.
As of December 2010, major support for Jacob’s Pillow has been provided by Asian Cultural Council; The Cricket Foundation; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Frances Alexander Family Fund; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, Inc.; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts; Leading for the Future Initiative, a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Princeton University; The Prospect Hill Foundation; The Roxe Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Spingold Foundation, Inc.; The Walbridge Fund, Ltd.; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; MassDevelopment; National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius; Save America’s Treasures; CEC ArtsLink and the Open World Leadership Center; ALEX®; Capezio®/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation Inc.; Greylock Federal Credit Union; The Legacy Banks Foundation; Quality Inn; Jacob’s Pillow Business Alliance; and Jacob’s Pillow Members.
Major endowment support is provided by The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Surdna Foundation; and Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.