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2015 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

The 83rd Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2015 will include key anniversaries, co-commissions, premieres, and live music on three stages.

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Festival 2015 Wrap-up

Posted on November 19, 2015 by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

The 83rd Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2015 was an unforgettable season featuring a broad spectrum of dance from contemporary and classical ballet, hip-hop, and modern dance, to tap, dance-theatre, flamenco, and fusions of all of the above.  Over the course of 10 weeks, the 2015 Festival featured 163 performances by 52 dance companies from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Cuba. Attendance this year broke all previous records with over 101,000 visitor experiences.

A key element of the Pillow’s unique appeal is the intimacy of our theaters and our commitment to presenting live music with dance. Music highlights from the 2015 season included an encore presentation of The Blues Project by Michelle Dorrance and her company of all-star tap dancers, Dorrance Dance, with original live music by composer Toshi Reagon and her band BIGLovely.  The founder and director of Dorrance Dance, Michelle Dorrance has been lauded as one of today’s most skilled and imaginative tap choreographers. Together with her collaborators, Derick K. Grant and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, they brought the house down with powerful solo improvisations to Reagon’s stirring, soulful music. 

The debut appearance of MalPaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba was an audience favorite this season with a mixed program that included Despedida, with choreography by MalPaso Artistic Director Osnel Delgado, set to an original score by Mexican-American composer Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, performed live. Taking inspiration from the eponymous poem by the award-winning Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges, Despedida showcased the company’s signature virtuosic range in style from Brazilian capoeira to ballet. 

La Otra Orilla returned to the Pillow with the world premiere of Moi&lesAutres, a sublime exploration of communication and collaboration, and the impact of relating together through song, dance, and music. Led by Canadian dancer/choreographer Myriam Allard and French singer/stage director Hedi Graja, La Otra Orilla’s work is a truly unique and radical approach to Flamenco that reflects a transdisciplinary vision.

Festival presentations were complemented by the Pillow’s nationally recognized Audience Engagement Program which contextualizes the work of exceptional artists and educates and stimulate Pillow visitors at every level of interest. In 2015, more than 51,000 people of all ages and economic backgrounds attended free performances, PillowTalks with artists, Pre/Post-Show Talks with Scholars-in-Residence, intergenerational dance classes, and exhibits.

Building on the successes of Festival 2015, Jacob’s Pillow moves into another season of exciting programming and artistic excellence. The 2016 Festival promises to be another extraordinary year with key anniversaries, premieres of new projects we are co-commissioning, and several programs with live music including the return of tap sensation and 2015 MacArthur Fellow Michelle Dorrance, and Festival 2015’s breakout start Gauthier Dance/Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart performing Mauro Bigonzetti’s Cantata with the all-female vocal ensemble, Assurd, from Argentina.  The complete 2016 line-up will be announced in December.  

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Post-Show Talk: Malpaso Dance Company │ Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2015

Posted on August 11, 2015 by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

This Post-Show Talk features executive director/co-founder Fernando Sáez Carvajal, artistic director/co-founder Osnel Delgado Wambrug, and composer/musician Arturo O’Farrill, moderated by Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe. The Talk took place on August 7, 2015 following a performance by Malpaso Dance Company with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA.

Post-Show Talks are held at Jacob’s Pillow Dance on Fridays in the Ted Shawn Theatre and Thursdays in the Doris Duke Theatre and offer an opportunity for audiences to gain more insight into performances directly from the artists themselves.

The preceding performance featured this Havana-based company in two works created this year: Trey McIntyre’s “Under Fire” and Osnel Delgado Wambrug’s “Despedida.” 


Presenting live music with dance is an institutional commitment at Jacob’s Pillow that extends throughout the annual Festival, providing artists with extraordinary opportunities and audiences the frisson of live artistic collaboration. The 2015 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival promises to illustrate the range and depth of the Pillow’s commitment to supporting collaboration with composers and presenting live music with dance. Artists will be creating new work, exploring new dimensions of their artistic development, and are working with us to create interesting and meaningful connections with audiences.

Five companies will perform with live music during the 2015 Festival in the Ted Shawn and Doris Duke Theatres. Tap star Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance return with an encore presentation of The Blues Project with original music performed live by renowned folk/blues composer Toshi Reagon and her band BIGLovely. Prolific choreographer and recent Bessie Award winner Jessica Lang will present The Wanderer, created in part during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow. This contemporary story ballet is set to Franz Schubert’s moving song cycle, Die schöne Müllerin, performed live. The charismatic Malpaso Dance Company from Havana will make their Pillow debut performing with live music by Grammy-winning composer Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble. La Otra Orilla from Montreal returns with a world premiere featuring their rebellious contemporary twist on traditional Flamenco dance with a cast of multitalented musicians. New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht will present an exclusive program of dances by Jerome Robbins, Justin Peck, Johan Kobborg, and Stanton Welch, performed with live music and a brilliant cast of principals and soloists from New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet.

Each artist/company on the 2015 Festival will be in residence for one week, giving six performances. All will be part of the Pillow’s extensive Audience Engagement Program, comprised of unique contextual programming that educates and stimulates visitors at every level of interest. The artists will also be part of Virtual Pillow, our online venue to build audiences for dance.

Live music will also take a prominent place in the Pillow’s free Inside/Out performance series, which attracts an audience of locals, tourists, and ticketed patrons who flock to the Pillow to enjoy a free concert. A perfect summer experience—free, casual, and in a beautiful setting overlooking the Berkshire hills—this incredibly popular series drew 22,000 people in 2014 and attracts as many as 1,000 people on any given night. In this informal and accessible setting, Inside/Out exposes audiences to the pairing of music and dance in a way that is rare even in the culturally-rich Berkshires.

This is just a sampling of the dance events with live music that the Pillow will offer in 2015. When musicians work alongside dancers the experience for artists and audiences is enlivened in incomparable ways—truly making each performance a singular event.

Start and End Dates



Becket, Massachusetts

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Last update on November 19, 2015

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Becket, Massachusetts
The distinguished history, record of achievement, and exquisite site of Jacob’s Pillow make it a unique cultural destination in the United States and the world. Jacob’s Pillow has also earned an important place in American history—as a station on the Underground Railroad in the mid 1800s, and during The Great Depression in 1933 when it…

In Collaboration With

Performing Group
Havana, CUBA
Performing Group
New York, New York
Performing Group
Montreal, CANADA


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