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 Post subject: 2006 is a Boom Year for Jacob's Pillow
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:36 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 6883
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Press Contact and Photos: French Clements
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Becket, MA - Signs abound that Jacob's Pillow is as successful now as at any
point in its 74-year history. With three shows added by popular demand,
vigorous sales overall, and numerous engagements generating an unusual
amount of buzz, it's been yet another consecutive successful season for the
international center for dance, ideally poised to launch celebrations for
its 75th anniversary, which begins in 2007.

Strong art matched strong box office, and attendance was comparable to 2005,
which was a record-breaking year. Attendance for the adventurous
programming in the Doris Duke Studio Theatre, which had new air-conditioning
and assigned seating, blew past all prior records, coming in 6% over the
record returns in 2005. Other noteworthy points for 2006 include: increased
attendance for the Pillow's approximately 200 free public programs,
including the PillowTalks series, pre-performance talks by Scholars in
Residence, exhibits, and Member events. The Pillow's free outdoor Inside/Out
showings drew nearly 15,000 total visitors, and the closing Benefit Finale
party drew over 300 people, twice as many as last season.

Jacob's Pillow, the only dance institution to be recognized as a National
Historic Landmark, was called by The New York Times in August "the dance
center of the nation and possibly the world. . ." Indeed, this year the
Pillow was particularly successful in engaging audiences in dance from all
over the globe, with almost half of the Festival's artists hailing from
countries outside of the U.S. The Pillow's interest in international dance
and international cultural exchange was evident throughout its entire
campus, as interns and students from Greece, Israel, Argentina, France,
Italy, Taiwan, and Norway received professional training in arts
administration, dance technique, and repertory.
Audiences ventured to the Pillow to see many companies that were new to
them and to see unique programs exclusive to the Pillow, including six works
never before performed in the U.S., the world premiere of two new works, a
company making its U.S. debut, two works new to the east coast, and six
engagements with live music. Extra performances had to be added to
accommodate demand (and even then were filled to the brim) for Israel's
powerful Emanuel Gat Dance, Canada's inventive Rubberbandance Group, and, in
three programs spanning the choreographer's career, the Mark Morris Dance
Group. In a fitting conclusion to a blockbuster season, Mark Morris
himself, after performing onstage one night only, joined patrons,
Rubberbandance Group and his Mark Morris Dance Group to celebrate his
company's 25th anniversary as well as his own 50th birthday at the season
finale party. Morris was honored with several gifts including a rare print
of Pillow founder Ted Shawn from the Pillow's Archives. The pièce de
resistance however, was accomplished by staff, who spied in advance to find
out Morris's secret birthday wishes, which included a pony. The Pillow
delivered-with a guest appearance by an adorable Shetland pony named Saxon.

Throughout the season, press and audiences responded enthusiastically to the
Pillow's programming of exclusive engagements and unique repertory from
groups such as Tania Pérez-Salas, Tero Saarinen Company, Shen Wei Dance
Arts, and the first east coast appearance of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in
ten years. The Pillow received key press from
major print outlets in Boston and New York and broadened the range of its
television coverage with segments on Bloomberg Television, CBS/Channel 6 in
Albany, WGBY in Springfield, and WBZ in Boston.

The Pillow has been keen on developing younger audiences. A younger and
family audience was in evidence throughout the season, with increased Doris
Duke Studio Theatre sales, family matinees, and younger patrons at free
events, particularly at the Pillow's free outdoor stage series, Inside/Out.
The Wednesday, August 23 showing of Rubberbandance Group drew 1,547 people,
doubling Inside/Out's all-time attendance record of a single performance.
Even in the rain, the Pillow's annual Community Day drew more than 1100
people, with many families reporting that they plan portions of their summer
around this single event.

The School at Jacob's Pillow also enjoyed a banner year, bringing over 100
professional and pre-professional students for five programs led by world
renowned faculty from all over the U.S. and the world, with nine countries
represented. Among the highlights of the season was the presentation to Min
Li of the third annual Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence, who was
profiled on Boston's CBS station while at the Pillow. As a result of his
hard work in the studio at The School, Li was invited to join Israel's
prestigious Batsheva Ensemble. The Pillow's Community Programs saw
significant increases in attendance, notably with many of the Morning
Jumpstart community classes, which filled the dance studio spaces to

The 74th season of Jacob's Pillow has ended, but the Pillow's year-round
activity of community programs and presentation continues with Ballet
Hispanico, co-presented with MASS MoCA at the museum's Hunter Theater in
North Adams, October 6 and 7 at 8pm. Both performances include after-show
talks with Artistic Director, Tina Ramirez, moderated by the Pillow's
Executive Director, Ella Baff. Visit for details or call
MASS MoCA's Box Office at 413.662.2111.


Jacob's Pillow is located in the town of Becket in the Berkshire Hills of
Western Massachusetts. The Pillow, as it is affectionately known, was
originally the Carter family farm in the 1700s, and in the 1800s served as a
station on the Underground Railroad. Its pioneering spirit was furthered in
1933, when legendary dancer, teacher, and choreographer Ted Shawn founded
the Festival as a showcase for his company of Men Dancers and as a home for
dance in the U.S.

Jacob's Pillow now encompasses an acclaimed international Festival (the
first and longest-running in the U.S.), a professional School, rare and
extensive Archives open to the public free of charge, an Intern Program, and
year-round Community Programs. The historic site includes 161 acres, 31
buildings, three unique stages (including the first theatre in the U.S.
built specifically for dance); three dance studios, exhibition spaces,
restaurants, the Pillow Store, residential housing, administrative offices,
a health center, gardens, trails, and woodlands.

The Pillow presents international dance in all forms, styles, and
traditions, and approximately 200 free events each season, including
performances, lectures, tours, film showings, exhibits, and talks with
artists from all over the world, which yield approximately 80,000 visitor
experiences annually.

Pillow Founder Ted Shawn was instrumental in beginning the careers of Martha
Graham and Jack Cole, and the Pillow has continued this mentoring role by
providing opportunities to young artists such as Alvin Ailey, José Limón,
and Mark Morris. Companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Parsons
Dance Company have been seen at the Pillow for the first time anywhere, and
international groups such as the Royal Danish Ballet and Nederlands Dans
Theater have made their U.S. debuts here. World premieres have been
commissioned from masters such as Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, and
legendary artists such as Margot Fonteyn and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been
showcased in new works.

In 2003, Jacob's Pillow was declared a National Historic Landmark by the
federal government as "an exceptional cultural venue that holds value for
all Americans." It is the first and only dance entity in the U.S. to
achieve this honor. The Pillow looks forward to celebrating its 75th
anniversary in 2007, and has launched its first endowment campaign, The Fund
for Jacob's Pillow, to help ensure its eminence and longevity for others to
enjoy in years to come.


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