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Premieres, Farewells And Old Favorites Highlight Jacob's Pillow 2014


The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival has announced its 2014 season lineup.

The 82nd season of the nation’s longest-running dance festival will showcase 350 performances from June to August. With 52 companies performing on three stages, visitors will be treated to a mix of classic ballet and more modern dance.

Peter Boal says he loved performing on the stages in Beckett, Massachusetts. As artistic director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boal says he cherished the opportunity to return to the Pillow after performing at the festival near the tail-end of his 22 year career with the New York City Ballet.

“It’s a faithful audience,” Boal said. “They know their stuff and they want to know more. So many of them come early for lectures and they’ll research what they’re going to see. So it’s a well educated group of a people and it’s always an honor to be in front of them and hopefully to win their approval. Same goes for the critics that visit the Pillow.”

Ella Baff is the executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow. She says audience members will see well-known companies like the Mark Morris Dance Group and Dance Theatre of Harlem, but also be exposed to new themes and ideas.

“A show I’m putting together called Unreal Hip-Hop; four different artists who are working in the genre in very, very different ways,” Baff explained. “Hip-hop, like ballet or contemporary dance, it has a big vocabulary of movement and there are a lot of different ways to do it. These artists are, in a word, astonishing.”

In June, Trey McIntyre Project will give its final performance as a full-time dance company at Jacob’s Pillow. Caty Solace, the Project’s chief strategy officer, says after ten years the company is transitioning into a project-based model. She says it’s quite fitting to go out on the stage at the Pillow.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Ella Baff,” Solace said. “She was actually one of the very first presenters to take a chance on us. She presented us when we were a part-time company and then was the very first presenter to bring us as a full-time company.”

Baff says the long history of Jacob’s Pillow allows it to develop artists through its dance schools and residences who often go on to perform on the festival stages. She also says it serves as a discovering ground for new and unknown artists and dance styles.

“I always encourage people to see everything they don’t already know about,” Baff said. “It expands the whole view about what dance is and builds a good appetite for more.”

The season will feature companies from Australia, Brazil, China, Italy and across the United States. Boal, who’s Pacific Northwest Ballet is based in Seattle, says the performers don’t mind the lengthy commute.

“The history there is tremendous,” Boal said. “So to be able to participate in that and be a small link in that chain I think is an honor. So they’ll put up with some travel to get there.”

The season opening gala is June 14. Click here for more information on the 2014 season.

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