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Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Selects New Executive Director

This is a picture of Pamela Tatge, the newly-named executive director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
Perceptions Photography
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Pamela Tatge will join Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in April.";

As Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival enters its 84th season, a new executive director will take the reins of the cultural attraction in Becket, Massachusetts.America’s longest running dance festival has chosen Pamela Tatge to succeed Ella Baff as executive director after her departure last year. Tatge has spent the past 16 years directing the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University. She expects to join the Pillow in April.

“It is the legendary center of dance in this country,” Tatge said. “It has been a part of my consciousness every since I became a presenter of dance. It’s my go-to place for research, for discovering new companies that I might not know of and I feel that it has such an important place in American dance history and the dance field.”

In her current role, Tatge oversees dance, theater, music and visual art across the Middletown, Conn. campus. The Wesleyan graduate says some of the center’s best work has been in dance.

“A passion that I began as a ballet student when I was 9 years old grew into a deep love,” Tatge said. “So the idea that I can focus this next phase of my career in discovering the most important work being performed today as well as identifying emerging talent and embedding that work in a site and a community is really of great interest to me.”

Hear more from Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's new executive director Pamela Tatge.

As executive director Tatge will set the artistic vision and strategic goals for the Pillow, which is a National Medal of Arts winner and a National Historic Landmark. Its campus consists of an outdoor stage and barns-turned-theaters on 220 acres of former New England farmland in Becket. This past July, Baff announced she had accepted a position with the New York City-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ending her 17-year run leading the Pillow.

“There is only one Jacob’s Pillow,” Baff said during a July 2015 interview with WAMC. “It is a destination for people all over the world. It’s a very symbolic place and represents dance. A lot of people call it ‘The Mother Ship of Dance’ and I think that’s a great description for it. But, it’s also one of the most beloved places in the Berkshires.”

The Pillow’s 2015 festival created more than 101,000 visitor experiences, surpassing the previous record of 96,000 the year before. Baff put together the upcoming season, meaning Tatge’s first seasonal stamp will be the Pillow’s 85th in 2017. Tatge says she will continue to familiarize herself with the organization’s history, calling the current programming mix extraordinarily successful.

“I am an omnivore,” Tatge said. “I really love it all. I’m a great lover of social dance, ballet and contemporary dance. I’m interested in dance that comes from an authentic place and from a singular creative vision that’s not derivative, that is true and has intention. That can be found in many, many different forms of dance. I think that’s part of what draws me to the Pillow is because of the range of work that’s presented there.”

The season opening gala is June 18th.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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