Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers Revisited during 2nd Annual LGBT Weekend Out at Jacob’s Pillow

From the News Desk: Recently honored by President Barack Obama with a prestigious National Medal of Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival will host its second annual “Weekend OUT” August 5–7, a weekend full of free events, performances, and tours. This packed schedule of events provides the opportunity for LGBT families, individuals, and couples to take advantage of all the Pillow has to offer while meeting and mingling with old and new friends.

Claude Bessy

Scheduled weekend events include the photography exhibit Annie Leibovitz:DANCE which honors the 30th anniversary of Mark Morris Dance Group; a free performance by the Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance students of The School at Jacob’s Pillow; a free film on the glamorous Paris Opera Ballet star Claude Bessy, and more. “Weekend OUT” will also feature a special behind-the-scenes historic tour of Jacob’s Pillow on Sunday, August 7 at noon, guided by Jacob’s Pillow Director of Preservation, Norton Owen, and focusing on iconic Pillow-founder Ted Shawn, his company of Men Dancers, and his mission to represent strength and masculinity in dance.

Performance highlights include the U.S. debut of 3e Étage: Soloists and Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet, who showcase their versatility in varied program of witty contemporary ballet works , and the much-talked-about choreographer Jonah Bokaer, acclaimed as “contemporary dance’s renaissance man” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times), in multimedia dances that merge the visual arts and movement. A video of one of his creations is embedded for your enjoyment below.

“Weekend OUT” is sponsored by The Gay & Lesbian Review.

Visit this special link to www.jacobspillow.org for the complete schedule and additional details. There is also a wonderful background history of how an enclave of male dancers became America’s most famous dance festival. Click here to read The Untold Story of Jacob’s Pillow, published in 2006 by The Gay and Lesbian Review, written by Norton Owen, who will also lead the Ted Shawn tour on August 7.

HIstoric photo of the Ted Shawn Men Dancers at Jacob's Pillow.

Norton Owen Interview

Early in June, Berkshire on Stage will be talking with Owen who is the Director of Preservation at the Pillow. With his help we will bring the early days full circle to the now annual LGBT “Out Weekend” and preview the summer’s overall offerings. We will also explore any lesbian, bisexual and transgendered links during the long life of the festival. It should be one of our more interesting side trips down memory lane.

When: Friday, August 3–Sunday, August 7
Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers Historic Tour: Sunday, August 7 at noon

Where: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA 01223
Box Office: 413.243.0745

About Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow, celebrating its 79th anniversary in 2011, is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s longest running international dance festival. The Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 300 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various departments of arts administration and production.

The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and video. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and more than 200 free public events. Through Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally-recognized program, artist-educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming existing curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Choreography commissions; Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; and the annual $25,000 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award all support visionary choreographers.

Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob’s Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and mobile social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, an online video collection of dance highlights from 1937 through 2010, is a new resource with a curated selection of videos by artists who have performed at Jacob’s Pillow over the past seven decades. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government. Jacob’s Pillow is the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award.

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