Jacob’s Pillow will open its 80th Anniversary Festival ― a “veritable dance explosion” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times) ― June 20-24 with the U.S. premiere of Por Um Fio (By A Thread), performed by Mimulus Dance Company of Brazil. Based in Belo Horizonte, Mimulus made its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2007 and is celebrated internationally for its unique combination of social dance and contemporary choreography. In Por Um Fio, the company honors the life and work of Brazilian outsider artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário with an evening-length production full of dynamic sets, interactive costuming, inventive dance, and an eclectic score. Following their Festival 2007 performance, Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote: “[Artistic Director] Jomar Mesquita and his Mimulus dance company ought to be bottled and sold as elixir…the sassy, charming young dancers of this Brazilian troupe filled the Ted Shawn Theatre with infectious wit and energy as well as intriguing dance invention.”
“The dancers of Mimulus are irresistible. Their passion and zest for life and art is evident in every performance, and audiences fall in love instantly,” comments Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob’s Pillow. “They rarely perform in the United States, so I am very pleased that they will open the season in the Ted Shawn Theatre, where they appeared in U.S. for the first time. This production has something for everyone ― sensational dancing, theatricality, creative visual design, and beautiful music. It’s the perfect beginning to a fantastic summer of dance.”
The U.S. premiere of Por Um Fio (By A Thread), choreographed by Mesquita and members of the company, is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Arthur Bispo do Rosário´s birth and the 20th anniversary of his death. On a spiritual mission, the reclusive do Rosário created unintentional art for fifty years within the walls of Colônia Juliano Moreira, a psychiatric facility in Rio de Janeiro. Following his death in 1989, do Rosário’s creations, including writings and intricate embroideries made from found materials such as scraps of clothing and hospital bed sheets, gained international recognition in the contemporary art world. Often compared to the work of Marcel Duchamp, do Rosário’s art has been exhibited posthumously in major exhibitions, including at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Brazil, La Biennale di Venezia in Italy, and the Jeu de Paume in France.
In Por Um Fio, the dancers of Mimulus translate a fascination with the writings and creations of do Rosário into a choreographic weaving of limbs and bodies with spins, lifts, and inventive partnering. Intricate and unique costumes are embroidered with text and patterns, inspired by the way do Rosário himself adorned garments and fabrics. An interactive set of fabric, thread, tangled wires, and incandescent lighting further conducts the energy of the performance, evoking light and shade, madness and memory, and the joys and entanglements of life. The score of Por Um Fio includes music by Camille Dalmais, Caetano Veloso, Calexico, and Chopin, as well as excerpts from the movie O Prisioneiro da Passagem, directed by Hugo Denizart.
The Mimulus choreographic style encompasses all forms of social dance including samba, tango, salsa, and beyond. Mesquita has traveled around the world to study ballroom and social dance styles in their various countries of origin. He then brings these styles back to Brazil, and integrates them into a unique and engaging contemporary dance language. Karen Campbell of The Boston Globe comments, “It’s the directness of the dancing itself that ultimately makes the biggest impact — fleet, tight footwork, inventively acrobatic partnering, hips and heads that roll like well-oiled ball bearings, and rhythmic verve oozing out every pore.” In addition to performing with and choreographing for his company, Mesquita teaches internationally; he served as director of the Samba Program at The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2011. He is also featured, along with Mimulus, in Never Stand Still, the award-winning documentary about Jacob’s Pillow by filmmaker Ron Honsa.
On Sunday, June 24, from 10-11:30am, dancers from Mimulus will lead a Master Class for intermediate/advanced dancers ages 16 and older. Pre-registration is required; for more information on the Master Class, call 413.243.9919.
Performance and Ticket Information
Mimulus Dance Company
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, June 20 through Saturday, June 23 at 8pm
Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 at 2pm
- · Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered in Blake’s Barn 30 minutes before every performance. A Post-Show Talk with Jomar Mesquita and a Pillow Scholar will take place onstage on Friday, June 22.
- · Tickets $39-64. Now on sale online at jacobspillow.org, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office.
- · Box Office hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10am-6pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm.
- · Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob’s Pillow campus and theatres are handicapped-accessible.
IN THE DORIS DUKE THEATRE, JUNE 20-24
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, June 20 – Saturday, June 23, 8:15pm
Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, 2:15pm
Following an excerpt performance as part of the 80th Anniversary Season Opening Gala, Circa, a circus-arts company from Australia, opens the Doris Duke Theatre with its eponymous full evening program. In CIRCA, seven performers present daredevil acrobatics, aerial work, physical theatre, and astonishing, evocative contemporary movement. Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz has directed numerous cross-genre productions including opera, theatre, physical theatre, and circus; the company has toured across Australia, Europe, and South America. Lyn Gardner of The Guardian (U.K.) calls CIRCA “something extraordinary. It’s breathtaking, beautiful and sexy…But Circa is also astonishingly moving, its story of human co-operation and frailty emerging through an acro-ballet.” The Belfast Telegraph(U.K.)declares the production “a flying circus of dance and amazingly physical theatre.” Tickets $22-38.
FREE THIS WEEK, JUNE 20-24
Free Inside/Out Performance: Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima
Wednesday, June 20, 6:15pm
Based in Honolulu, under the direction of kumu hula Vicky and Jeff Takamine, Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima brings together their students from across the U.S. to present oli (chant), hula kahiko (ancient Hawaiian dance), and hula ‘auana (modern Hawaiian dance), with guest musicians on kī ho’alu (slack key guitar) and slide steel guitar. The company performs new works based on traditional dances originally composed for Lili’uokalani, the last Queen of Hawai’i, as well as repertoire of sacred drum dances, works dedicated to the fire goddess, and songs from the 1920s. FREE
Free Inside/Out Performance: Naomi Goldberg Haas/Dances For A Variable Population
Thursday, June 21, 6:15pm
Featuring an audience participation finale, the interactive work FANFARE is performed by dancers ranging in age from 24-83. Set to Michael Nyman’s brass compositions, FANFAREcaptures the diversity and energy of the multigenerational performers. The work was originally presented as a site-specific piece created and timed for the arrival and departure of the ferries at the Whitehall Terminal in Staten Island. FREE
Free PillowTalk: From Stage to Studio
Friday, June 22, 5pm
Legendary former principal ballerinas Cynthia Harvey and Anna-Marie Holmes reflect on their performing careers and how they transmit their experiences to a new generation of dancers in the classroom. FREE
Free Inside/Out Performance: Bill Evans Dance Company
Friday, June 22, 6:15pm
Founded in 1975 and well-known for tap dances, here the Bill Evans Dance Company presents two contemporary works that showcase Evans’s interest in full-bodied, dynamic movement.Nature Unfolding, a poignant work inspired by Evans’s time in New Mexico, is performed by dancers in costumes modeled after the southwestern sunset. Craps, originally made in collaboration with the lauded jazz pianist also named Bill Evans, brings together music and movement. Evans was on faculty at The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 1973, when his pieceThree Bach Dances was performed by Cynthia Gregory and other members of American Ballet Theatre in the Ted Shawn Theatre. FREE
Free PillowTalk: Where Dance and Circus Meet
Saturday, June 23, 4pm
The Associate Director of Circa, Darcy Grant, explains how the company (performing in the Doris Duke Theatre June 20-24) incorporates improvisation, multimedia, and startlingly-imagined circus skills to establish a new frontier in circus arts for the concert stage. FREE
Free Inside/Out Performance: The School at Jacob’s Pillow – Ballet Program
Saturday, June 23, 6:15pm
To conclude their studies in the Ballet Program, dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow present classical ballet variations coached by Program Director Anna-Marie Holmes and the incomparable ballerina Cynthia Harvey, plus a new work by lauded British choreographer Michael Corder. FREE
FREE EXHIBITS – OPEN JUNE 20-AUGUST 26
Decades of Dance
Open Tues-Sun, noon to approx 9pm
From its inception in 1933 to the present day, Jacob’s Pillow has been home to extraordinary dance from around the world. In celebration of the Pillow’s 80th Anniversary Season, remarkable images from each decade are grouped thematically in a unique commemorative exhibition. Culled from the extensive Jacob’s Pillow Archives, this cornucopia of treasures includes a virtual Who’s Who of the dance world and features rare materials never before exhibited. FREE
Old / Pillow
Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby
Open 60 minutes before every Ted Shawn Theatre performance
New York photographer Toby Old has focused his lens on specific locations like Coney Island and Times Square, and explored themes such as fashion shows, nightclubs, and boxing matches. His Jacob’s Pillow visits over the past five years have yielded images that capture both the place and the people who enliven it. Some of these photographs were recently featured in a Paris gallery; this exhibit marks the first time they have been shown in the U.S. FREE
Ivan Chermayeff Designs
Doris Duke Theatre Lobby
Open 60 minutes before every Doris Duke Theatre performance
A celebrated designer, illustrator, and artist, Ivan Chermayeff has created familiarly iconic images for hundreds of prominent clients such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian and has won numerous awards. In 1955, with Tom Geismar, he co-founded the internationally-known New York City design firm Chermayeff & Geismar. Chermayeff’s designs for Jacob’s Pillow in the 1980s and 90s are still remembered for their bold vision and originality, and many are collected here for the first time. FREE
Open Tues-Sun, noon to approx 9pm
When President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to Jacob’s Pillow at the White House last year, the Pillow became the first dance presenting organization ever to receive this distinction. The medal itself and the signed presidential proclamation are on display in this exhibit along with some of the other awards received by the Pillow and its founder, Ted Shawn, including the Capezio Award, the Commonwealth Award, Shawn’s medal from the King of Denmark, and other treasures. FREE
Anniversary Highlights, Part 2
Open to the public whenever classes or rehearsals are not in session
Photos from past Pillow seasons traditionally line the Bakalar Studio walls, and the current 80th Anniversary Festival offers a special opportunity to look back at memorable images from the Festival’s history. FREE
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Archives
Open Tues-Sun, noon to approx 9pm
This informal library and reading room allows impromptu visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow’s computer catalog, or peruse permanent collections of Pillow programs and photographs. Pillow Interactive, the popular touch-screen kiosk, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present-day back to the 1930s, and the Dance Heritage Coalition’s new Secure Media Network features videos from other archives throughout the country. FREE