After two years of cancellations and weather-dependent outdoor performances, the Jacob’s Pillow dance festival is returning to theaters.
Jacob’s Pillow, the dance center in Becket, Mass., announced its 2022 festival schedule on Wednesday, which includes a premiere by choreographer Ronald K. Brown, as well as performances by New York City Ballet principal dancers Sara Mearns and Taylor Stanley, Kyle Abraham’s band AIM and tap dancer Dormeshia, among others.
The season celebrates the 90th anniversary of first performances at Jacob’s Pillow and features the unveiling of the newly refurbished Ted Shawn Theatre. The theater has a larger stage, greater accessibility and new air conditioning and ventilation systems.
“It will be a pure joy to come together again in this magical theater,” said Pamela Tatge, executive and artistic director of the center, in a press release.
The start of the festival, which runs from June 22 to August 28, will reference the first concert held at the Ted Shawn Theater in 1942: a showcase of American dance and folk dances, including Agnes de Mille’s “Hell on Wheels.” . (Before the theater opened, performances of Jacob’s Pillow took place at the Tea Garden and Bakalar Studio.) For the opening program, “America (na) to me,” dancers were asked to reflect on what what American identity means to them. Hosted by Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas, it features Mearns; Dormeshia; Mythili Prakash, a Bharatanatyam interpreter; flamenco artist Nelida Tirado; and others.
The Ted Shawn is currently the only operating covered theater at Jacob’s Pillow. In 2020, a fire destroyed the Doris Duke Theater at the dance center. Elise Linscott, spokeswoman for Jacob’s Pillow, said the center hoped to begin construction on the new theater within a year and complete it in 2024. After a month-long investigation into the fire, it was she stated, the cause was undetermined.
This year, performances will also take place on the Pillow’s outdoor stage and under a marquee set up on the site of the Doris Duke Theatre.
In late June, Evidence, Brown’s Brooklyn-based company, will present the world premiere of “The Equality of Night and Day,” to an original score by composer and jazz pianist Jason Moran. It includes text by Angela Davis and visuals by artist and author Deborah Willis.
And in mid-July, Abraham’s company, AIM, will perform “An Untitled Love,” an evening-long work, partly created in residence at Jacob’s Pillow, set to music by R&B artist D’Angelo.
The Limón Dance Company will create a commission from Jacob’s Pillow, “Only One Will Rise” by musician and choreographer Olivier Taparga.
Stanley, Principal Dancer of New York City Ballet, will present a program featuring world premiere works by William Forsythe, Jodi Melnick and Shamel Pitts. Choreographer John Heginbotham’s collaboration with composer Ethan Iverson is another world first.
The festival will also feature Los Angeles-based contemporary company Bodytraffic; a swing performance choreographed by Caleb Teicher; tap company Music From the Sole; the New Zealand company Black Grace; a traveling performance by Michelle N. Gibson and an ensemble drawn from the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Company of San Francisco; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; work by choreographer Liz Lerman; the Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, a modern dance company based in Denver; and the Miami City Ballet.