Full length ballet “Sunset o639 Hours” from BalletX, plus Zvi Dance at Jacob’s Pillow

Zachery Kapeluck of BalletX in "Sunset, o639 Hours"; photo Alexander Iziliaev.

Zachery Kapeluck of BalletX in “Sunset, o639 Hours”; photo Alexander Iziliaev.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival presents Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company BalletX in Sunset, o639 Hours, July 20-24. Exploring love, loss, and paradise, the company brings choreographer Matthew Neenan and composer Rosie Langabeer’s dreamlike story ballet and live cabaret-style band, The Sunset Club, to the Ted Shawn Theatre stage, illustrating the sights and sounds of pre-World War II New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii.

“It’s amazing to be back at Jacob’s Pillow,” says choreographer Matthew Neenan. ―BalletX performed in the Inside/Out program a number of years ago, and then I had the privilege of choreographing for the ballet students at the annual gala in Ella Baff’s final year at the Festival. To be invited back to perform a full-length ballet on the Ted Shawn Theatre stage this year is just a dream come true for BalletX, and we can only hope the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the Pillow.

Founded in 2005 by choreographer Matthew Neenan and Executive and Artistic Director Christine Cox, BalletX is Philadelphia’s leading contemporary ballet company comprised of 10 classically-trained dancers. The company invigorates the classical genre with fresh ideas in collaboration with the world’s leading choreographers including Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, among many others. They aim to challenge the boundaries of ballet by expanding the vocabulary of classical dance for all audiences. Aubrey Nagle of the Philly Voice applauds BalletX’s fearless innovation and originality.

Matthew Neenan’s Sunset, o639 Hours interprets the dramatic true story of 1930’s pilot Edwin Musick during his brave 1938 inaugural airmail flight from Auckland via Samoa to Honolulu. Transporting audiences through pre-World War II New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii, the work illuminates the personal narrative of Captain Musick and his crew, following the events of the dangerous delivery of letters between loved ones from 4,000 miles away. Neenan’s work is praised by The New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay: ―he makes dancers look vulnerable, openhearted and, above all, marvelously free‖ and Sunset, 0639 Hours is ―beautifully elegiac, taking us into hearts of people who lived decades ago.

Neenan’s work is set to an ―evocative score‖ (Siobhan Burke, The New York Times) by New Zealand musician and composer Rosie Langabeer with co-composer Andrew Mars, performed live onstage by her Philadelphia-based band, The Sunset Club. Their ability to refresh classical ballet with daring contemporary choreography and exciting artistic choices.


BalletX is making its Ted Shawn Theatre debut. The company was previously seen in the Inside/Out Performance Series in 2006. Co-founder Matthew Neenan was also the choreographer for the Season Opening Gala performance for The School at Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program in 2015.


Philadelphia’s leading contemporary ballet company, BalletX unites illustrious choreographers with a brilliant company of world-class dancers to create original works of athleticism, emotion, and grace. Led by Executive and Artistic Director and co-founder, Christine Cox, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging new ideas through experimentation while keeping the technique and focus of classical ballet. The company is committed to producing new works of quality and integrity that bring the talented visions of choreographers and dancers to life, while cultivating in audiences a collective appetite for bold, new dance.

BalletX has expanded its repertoire with over 58 world premieres since 2005 by internationally renowned artists including Darrell Grand Moultrie, Gabrielle Lamb, Joshua Peugh, James Gregg, Olivier Wevers, Tobin Del Cuore, and Mauro Astolfi, among many others. Firmly rooted in ballet technique, BalletX’s contemporary repertory challenges the company with innovative examinations of ballet in the 21st century.

With three annual performance series in Philadelphia, BalletX reaches diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds as the resident dance company of The Wilma Theater. BalletX is recognized worldwide for its unique repertoire, participating in national and international tours, including performances at prestigious venues and festivals such as The Joyce Theater in New York City, Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, Laguna Dance Festival in California, Festival de Ballet in Colombia, and Ballet EXPO in South Korea, among many others.

Performance and ticket information BalletX
Ted Shawn Theatre
Wednesday, July 20—Saturday, July 23, 8pm Saturday, July 23 & Sunday, July 24, 2pm

  •   Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Philip Szporer are offered in Blake’s Barn 30 minutes before each performance.
  •   Free Post-Show Talk with artists from BalletX will take place immediately following the performance on Friday, July 22 at the Ted Shawn Theatre.
  •   Tickets start at $39. 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: Wednesday- Saturday, 11am-8pm; Sun, noon-5pm; Tues, 11am-5pm

Pillow Members receive exclusive benefits. To become a Member, call 413.243.9919×125. 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 theaters are handicapped accessible.

July 20-24, Wednesday-Saturday at 8:15pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:15pm Doris Duke Theatre

Under the artistic vision of Israeli-born choreographer Zvi Gotheiner, ZviDance is widely known for its passionate vision, versatile contemporary dances, and lush movement. The company performs the dance triptych Escher/Bacon/Rothko, danced in three distinct sections inspired by the artwork of M.C. Escher, Francis Bacon, and Mark Rothko. Ten dancers perform this stirring choreography, illuminating new perspectives and pulsating with each artist’s startling take on modern visual art, set to a compelling original score by composer Scott Killian.

Tickets start at $25.

Free Inside/Out Performance: New Work from NYC Wednesday, July 20, 6:15pm
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

New Work from NYC is a compilation of new works recently choreographed by male artists based in and around NYC. This curated engagement is a two-part series and includes the August 24 Inside/Out engagement titled Women Making Work. FREE

Class with Inside/Out Artists: Caleb Teicher

Thursday, July 21, 4 pm Ruth St. Denis Studio

Acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and alumnus of the School at Jacob’s Pillow, Caleb Teicher offers the opportunity to learn the basics of swing dance. Open to all experience-levels unless otherwise noted, ages 12+. Participants younger than 18 require a parent/guardian signature on liability waiver. $10 per class. Pre-registration required.

Free Inside/Out Performance: Caleb Teicher and Company

Thursday, July 21, 6:15pm
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Founded in 2012, Caleb Teicher & Company presents a blend of traditional American dance forms including tap dance, lindy hop, and vernacular jazz. The company will present a range of works including I Love You So Much, Variations, Small & Tall, and a solo by Teicher. Teicher is a 2011 New York Dance and Performance ―Bessie‖ Award recipient, one of Dance Magazine’s ―Top 25 to Watch‖, a three-time alumnus of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, and a member of

2016 Festival’s Dorrance Dance. FREE

Free Pillow Talk: Choreography As Visual Art Friday, July 22, 5pm
Blake’s Barn

Art historian Susan Rosenberg has focused on Trisha Brown’s vision while Zvi Gotheiner considers three artists onstage this week, and here they discuss common ground inhabited by dance and visual arts. FREE

Free Inside/Out Performance: The Chase Brock Experience

Friday, July 22, 6:15pm
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Brooklyn-based ―candy-bright company‖ (The New Yorker) The Chase Brock Experience is led by Broadway choreographer Chase Brock. Equal parts Brooklyn and blue grass, the company will presentThe Song That I Sing; Or, Meow So Pretty set to the songs of folk revival group The New Christy Minstrels. FREE

Free PillowTalk: New Director, New Directions Saturday, July 23, 4pm
Blake’s Barn

In her inaugural year as Director of Jacob’s Pillow, Pamela Tatge shares some of her initial impressions and goals for the years ahead in this one-on-one conversation. FREE

Free Inside/Out Performance: Contemporary Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow

Saturday, July 23, 6:15pm
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space

Dancers from the Contemporary Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow present contemporary variations coached by program director Milton Myers and esteemed faculty member and Colombo-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. FREE

Sunday Master Class with Festival Artist: ZviDance

Sunday, July 24, 10am Doris Duke Theatre

Festival artist ZviDance will teach a master class open to all intermediate and advanced dancers ages 16 and over. Pre-registration is required, call 413.243.9919 x5 the week of the class to register. Quiet observation is welcome; $15 per class or $80 for a 6-class card. Participants younger than 18 will require a parent’s signature on a liability waiver.


Lois Greenfield: Moving Still

Blake’s Barn

Open daily, noon to 10pm Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon to 5pm Sundays-Tuesdays.

Accompanying the publication of Greenfield’s newest book, Moving Still celebrates the recent work of a singular artist who has defined dance photography for decades. In addition to her signature gravity-defying images, this exclusive exhibit debuts her latest collection of enigmatic moments, caught beneath the threshold of perception. FREE

Building the Pillow

Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes prior to every performance.

While seemingly unchanged and timeless in many ways, the beloved structures of this National Historic Landmark have been in constant transition for more than 200 years. In this exhibit, rare photographs of the site’s development are shared, many for the first time. FREE

Hirschfeld on the Move

Doris Duke Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes prior to every performance.

The legendary Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) loved dance and captured movement with uncanny economy of line. One of his last masterworks was a commissioned study of Ted Shawn at Jacob’s Pillow (now available on new merchandise in The Pillow Store), and exhibited among nine decades of other dance images in an exclusive exhibition created with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. FREE

Jacob’s Pillow Archives/Norton Owen Reading Room

Blake’s Barn

Open daily, noon to 10pm Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon to 5pm Sundays-Tuesdays.

This newly-expanded 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 from the Pillow’s Archives. Also on display are recent donations from Ruth St. Denis’s family and more treasures from the Stephan Driscoll Collection. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, available on the popular touch-screen kiosk in the Reading Room, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s. FREE

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