Aug. 5, 2021 – (BECKET, Mass.) – For the first time in over 20 years, STREB Extreme Action Company returns to Jacob’s Pillow from Aug. 18-22, bringing bravery and sheer athleticism to the Henry J. Leir Stage. The company will revisit a number of its early works, including a collection of founder and artistic director Elizabeth Streb’s classic solos from the 1970s-80s and several of her early equipment experimentCassandrrs from the 90s, placing them in direct contrast with the jaw-dropping extreme action opuses and large scale “action machines” the company has become known for in the 21st century.
Audiences can also experience the world premiere of zoe | juniper’s The Other Shore, a virtual experience that radically reframes and repositions the relationship between performer and viewer. In advance of the premiere on Aug. 17, audiences will receive a limited edition custom performance box in the mail that includes Virtual Reality goggles to be paired with a smartphone, an art book, and other art objects designed to enhance the performance experience. The Other Shore began in a Pillow Lab residency at Jacob’s Pillow in 2018, and it has become a multi-year project that includes an at-home experience, live performance, and video installation.
Also on site this week are members of The New England Soul Line Dance Network, who will offer a participatory and socially distant Soul Line Dance Party designed for every body and every dance ability on Sat., Aug. 21 at 12 p.m.
Additional on-site offerings include a Sunday Workshop in Elizabeth Streb’s PopAction technique led by Cassandre Joseph, Associate Artistic Director of STREB on Sun., Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. Elizabeth Streb will also participate in a PillowTalk moderated by Maura Keefe, where she will discuss her ongoing quest to achieve human flight and how her work speaks of and to intrinsic human potential—to make all of us want to do more, go further.
Online this week are the digital premieres of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s performance on the Henry J. Leir Stage on Thurs., Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and the digital premiere of PillowTalk: Dallas Black Dance Theatre on Fri., Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. Dance Education Laboratory will hold a virtual DELving Mini Workshop on Sun., Aug 22 from 3-5:30 p.m., featuring a guest artist from Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Participants of this two-and-a-half-hour embodied Zoom workshop will explore movement themes and choreographic structures from the Pillow-commissioned work LIKE WATER by choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie.
“I can’t wait to welcome Elizabeth and STREB back to Jacob’s Pillow,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director, Pamela Tatge. “This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the spirit and spectacle of this legendary company set against the dramatic backdrop of the Berkshire hills. At a time when so many are doubting our capacity for change, it will be inspiring to see a company that takes risks and dares to go where bodies have not been before. For over four decades, STREB has defied the status quo and has shown us what’s possible. Their program at the Pillow will showcase the journey they’ve been on to arrive at the remarkable company they are today.”
STREB Extreme Action Company brings a robust and thrilling program to the Pillow that spans nearly three decades of work. Works that Streb has dubbed ‘early experimentations’ like Pole Vaults (1978) utilize abstracted sports equipment as props. In more recent pieces, the performers (billed as Action Heroes) take even more extreme physical risks. In Tip (2006), “a dancer inside a half-wheel who rocks it from side to side points her toes and gestures balletically while the others balance on top” (The New York Times). Though Streb’s work is rooted in athleticism, it has little to do with the competitive nature of the sports from which she draws inspiration. She is more interested in the intrinsic potential of the human body and spirit and in imagining the ways in which art exists naturally in our physical world. “What’s distinctive about Streb’s choreography is not so much its athletic aspects, but the concentration and daring with which they are pursued. You see such qualities in athletes, but their goals have to do with competing or setting records. Streb is an artist, and she explores ultimate possibilities, physical and spiritual, for their own sake” (The Washington Post). This engagement was made possible by Gerry and Hank Alpert in memory and in honor of their friend, AT Nguyen.
Co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and Carolina Performing Arts, The Other Shore by Seattle-based dance and visual artists Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey allows audiences to choose their own experience. Audiences will receive a box in the mail that contains Virtual Reality goggles, miniature set pieces, photos, an art book, and other items that allow for in-depth audience engagement of the virtual work. The Other Shore can happen anytime and anywhere as long as audience members have access to the internet and the book. This project is a continuation of a work that premiered at the end of a Pillow Lab residency (funded by the Princess Grace Foundation) in 2018 and developed in collaboration with MASS MoCA. All iterations of The Other Shore have sought to reframe the relationship between audience and performer, questioning and expanding notions of power and of how and where dance can exist in space and time. The Aug. 17 co-presence premiere launches the “at home” iteration of The Other Shore and the project will continue its evolution also as an installation and in person performance at other venues.
The New England Soul Line Dance Network believes Soul Line Dancing is empowering, evolving, and inspiring. With a mission to uplift the community by sharing the love of line dancing across the Greater Boston and New England area, the network hosts regular workshops, classes, and socials. The Pillow’s first-ever Soul Line Dance Party is designed for every body and every dance ability and is a fun way to connect and groove to R&B and hip-hop music.
ABOUT STREB EXTREME ACTION COMPANY
For over forty years, STREB Extreme Action Company has performed in theaters large and small, served as artists-in-residence at the world’s top art museums, and taken its work into the streets and sports stadiums. The company’s extensive international touring calendar has included presentations at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Musée D’Orsay, Greece’s Summer Nostos Festival, Théâtre de la Ville, Lincoln Center Festival, the Park Avenue Armory, the Fall for Dance Festival, Wolf Trap Foundation, the Walker Art Center, Los Angeles MOCA, the Wexner Center, Spoleto USA, the River-to-River Festival, the Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals and in Chile, Singapore, and Taiwan. The company has received commissions to perform publicly at the 2012 London Olympic Festival, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Whitney Museum of American Arts groundbreaking, the Pan Am Games Arts Festival in Toronto, and the 2004 Cirque du Soleil 20th anniversary celebration performed in front of 250,000 people on the streets of Montréal. The company has also taken their signature extreme action to iconic locations including Grand Central Station, Coney Island’s fairground, the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Madison Square Garden, the mall outside the Smithsonian Institution, the Minneapolis Metrodome, and more.
In January 2003, STREB moved into a vacant former loading facility and transformed 51 North 1st Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, into the STREB LAB FOR ACTION MECHANICS (SLAM) which now serves as the home of STREB EXTREME ACTION, the STREB PopAction School, and the España-STREB Trapeze Academy. As a performance and presenting venue and an open access education and rehearsal space, SLAM creates community through interaction and experimentation.
Each year, STREB typically welcomes more than 10,000 people to SLAM: over 5,000 audience members, almost 1,000 students weekly from toddlers to adults, 3,000 children come from NYC public schools and community organization constituents, including at risk youth, more than 200 working artists who rent space at SLAM to create and present work, teach or take a class. STREB is a neighborhood economic engine, employing 150 local artists, technicians and administrators.
ABOUT ZOE | JUNIPER
zoe | juniper creations exist at the intersection of dance, installation, and video technology. They dissolve barriers between art, artist, and audience by challenging expectations of perception and making space for empathy and connection. Collaborating with artists from diverse fields, they employ a specific, singular combination of bodies, light, sound, and sculpture to realize each project. When teaching, their approach parallels their process: it is collaborative, experimental, and rigorous. The zoe | juniper process nurtures play, a creative exploration where disruptions reveal new, exciting avenues. Rather than targeting a specific product, their work exists in a perpetual state of becoming. Through constant reframing and reinvention, they access a realm of liminality specific to the convergence of each element in a moment. zoe | juniper’s art is a glimpse into this place of fleeting magic.
2015 Guggenheim Fellow Zoe Scofield and 2013 Stranger Genius award winner zoe | juniper (zj) is a Seattle-based dance and visual arts team described as a “crazy dream you just can’t shake” (The Boston Globe). Cofounded by choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey, the company creates stunning multidisciplinary dance performance and installation works. Over the past 13 years, zj has been commissioned and presented nationally and internationally by Jacob’s Pillow, On the Boards, Dance Theater Workshop/NYLA, Bates Dance Festival, PICA, DiverseWorks, PS122, Spoleto Festival, Columbia College, PuSh Festival, Wesleyan University, American Realness, Pennsylvania Ballet, ICA Boston, Joyce Theater, DancePlace, Frye Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center, Trafo House, REDCAT, OzArts, SIFFx, Carolina Performing Arts, Fringe Arts Festival, CNDC Angers and others. Awards and residencies include The MacDowell Colony, Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, Princess Grace Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and MAPFund.
ABOUT THE NEW ENGLAND SOUL LINE DANCE NETWORK
Founder Sonia Harris began the first City of Boston line dance program for adults in 2009 at the John P. Holland School Community Center with one additional instructor, Barbara Mark. The team met weekly during eight-week sessions, held two classes per week, and organized two dance socials each month. Since then, they have participated in City of Boston local events to inspire good health and wellness with classes like “Men Who Cook,” partnerships with 4 Star Dance Studio, The Charles River Elementary School, The Holland School, Slade’s Bar & Grill, The American Legion Post 16, and the Mattapan Health Center, They have also received accolades for their line dance showcase team, The Bad Girlz of New England Soul, who have been featured in Boston’s Line Dance Showdown, Boston Blend Blues Fest, and The UC Star Awards in Baltimore, MD.
The current group is under the direction of Barbara Mark and two additional
instructors LaTondra Finley-Jones and Lenore Curtis. They host an Annual Spring Workshop in May
open to the public. For more information, visit their Facebook Page NE Soul and their Facebook group New England Soul Line Dance Network.
JACOB’S PILLOW CONNECTIONS
STREB, formerly known as Streb/Ringside, last performed at the Pillow in 1997 in the Ted Shawn Theatre as part of the Dance & Sports Week. Elizabeth Streb also participated in a 1997 PillowTalk entitled Dance and Sports alongside choreographers Susan Marshall and David Dorfman and former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton. More recently, Streb made a personal appearance at the Pillow in conjunction with a 2015 screening of the documentary film, Born to Fly.
zoe | juniper presented their work A Crack in Everything at Jacob’s Pillow in 2011, following a Creative Development Residency also at Jacob’s Pillow in 2010. The collaborators were also in residence at the Pillow Lab in 2018 and at MASS MoCA with support from Jacob’s Pillow in 2021.
Explore past Pillow engagements on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:
- Elizabeth Streb in Little Ease (1985) in 1997:
- Women in Dance: Elizabeth Streb by Maura Keefe, Themes | Essays
- Inside the Pillow Lab: Zoe Scofield
- zoe | juniper in A Crack in Everything (2010) in 2011
PERFORMANCE & TICKET INFORMATION
STREB EXTREME ACTION
Henry J. Leir Stage, Aug. 18-22
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 6 p.m.
Available to watch online Sept. 2-16; Online premiere Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org, via phone 413.243.0745, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office at 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA 01223.
NEW ENGLAND SOUL LINE DANCE PARTY
Pillow Grounds, Aug. 21
Saturday at 12 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org, via phone 413.243.0745, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office at 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA 01223.
ZOE | JUNIPER
Virtual Experience, premiere Aug. 17
Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
$50 per household to receive a mailed box
Tickets are on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org, via phone 413.243.0745, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office at 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA 01223.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
Sunday Workshop: STREB
Sun., Aug. 22 at 10 a.m.
The Great Lawn Tent
Open to all levels, ages 12+.
Experience a PopAction technique class led by Associate Artistic Director, Cassandre Joseph, with Action Heroes of the STREB Extreme Action Company. Developed by Elizabeth Streb over the last 40+ years, PopAction helps dancers acquire new skills by posing unique challenges: change your base of support in a rapid fire way, physically designate specific locations in vertical and horizontal space, learn to pop the muscles to initiate action (rather than skeletally transferring weight), train for impact, learn to fly with low-to-the-ground maneuvers that increase spatial awareness, and incorporate a timing system that is not musical but physical (“felt timing”). The workshop confronts issues of falling and fear. STREB operates on a ‘personal best’ principle; the method suits all body types, ages, and skill sets.
Please wear comfortable clothes to move in (can include sweatpants, leggings, gym shorts, sports bras, tank tops, and t-shirts) and socks.
PillowTalk: Elizabeth Streb
Sun., Aug. 22 at 3:30 p.m.
A true original in the performing arts, Streb discusses her ongoing quest to achieve human flight
and how her work speaks of and to intrinsic human potential—to make all of us want to do more,
PillowTalks are a curated series of entertaining and informative discussions with choreographers, writers, filmmakers, and cultural experts. Moderated by Pillow Scholars, PillowTalks provide an opportunity to gain behind-the-scenes insight into the field of dance. Hour-long PillowTalks take place on-site on Sundays at 3:30pm at Blake’s Barn (next to the Box Office), and are free and open to the public with advance registration. Recordings of online PillowTalks will be shared throughout the summer, premiering Fridays at 4 p.m.
DALLAS BLACK DANCE THEATRE
Online premiere with live chat Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Digital Screening Aug. 19-Sept. 2
Founded in 1976 by Ann M. Williams and currently led by Artistic Director Melissa M. Young, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has captivated audiences in the Dallas Arts District and nationwide for over 45 years with contemporary modern dance by the nation’s leading choreographers. In a highly-anticipated Jacob’s Pillow debut, Dallas Black Dance Theatre performs a Pillow-commissioned world premiere by sought-after choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, celebrated for his work with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and Dance Theatre of Harlem, as well as Night Run by Christopher L. Huggins and Face what’s facing you! by Claude Alexander III. Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Pillow-commissioned work for DBDT is made possible by the Joan B. Hunter New Work Commission.
Virtual Class: Families Dance Together
Fri., Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. Eastern
All Fridays July 9-Aug. 27- ONGOING
Experience the joy of creating simple dances from the comfort of your home in this intergenerational 45-minute movement class designed for movers of all ages to enjoy together. From kids to adults, we invite you to get your whole household moving! Led by artists of Dance Exchange. No special preparation needed; simply register, gather your movers, click the Zoom class link, and start dancing. We encourage you to find a safe, open space to move in and make sure to modify any movement as needed.
Taking place at Jacob’s Pillow since 2001, Families Dance Together is an annual, treasured movement program led by Artist Jeff Bliss, in collaboration with the Becket Arts Center.
PillowTalk: Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Digital Screening of live, on-site event debuts Fri., Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. Eastern
Revered as the oldest continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas, this versatile ensemble is making its long-awaited Pillow debut.
DELving Mini-Workshop: Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Sat., Aug. 22 from 3-5:30 p.m.
$20; financial assistance available
Join Ann Biddle (Director of DEL at Jacob’s Pillow), Felice Santorelli (DEL Facilitator), and a guest artist from Dallas Black Dance Theatre in the exploration of dance education practices dedicated to artistry, collaboration, and dance-making in a 2.5-hour embodied and interactive Zoom workshop. Inspired by the Pillow-commissioned world premiere of DBDT by choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, participants will explore movement themes and choreographic structures embedded within this work. Through movement exploration and collaborative dance making activities, participants will gain a deeper appreciation of the legacy and artistic contributions of this contemporary modern dance company over the past 45 years.
FESTIVAL 2021 EXHIBITS & ARCHIVES—ONGOING
Blake‘s Barn, June 30-Aug. 29, open Wed.-Sat. 12-8 p.m., Tuesday and Sunday 12-5 p.m.
Build Me a Theater; exhibition
Ted Shawn’s instructions to architect Joseph Franz provide the title for this examination of all the Pillow’s performance spaces, past and present. Artifacts and images from the Ted Shawn Theatre, Doris Duke Theatre, Henry J. Leir Stage, and the Bakalar Studio create a kaleidoscopic celebration of live performance at the Pillow.
Jacob’s Pillow Archives/Norton Owen Reading Room
This spacious, informal library and reading room allows ticketed visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow’s computer catalog, or peruse permanent collections of Pillow programs and photographs from the Pillow‘s Archives. The newly expanded Norton Owen Reading Room also features recent donations and more archival treasures from the Stephan Driscoll Collection. Jacob‘s Pillow Dance Interactive, available on a popular touch-screen kiosk in the Reading Room, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s.
ABOUT JACOB’S PILLOW:
Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision ‘22. Jacob’s Pillow rests on the traditional lands of the Agawam, the Nipmuc, the Pocumtuc, and the Mohican and we honor their elders past, present, and future. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the field’s most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program. The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. The Pillow’s Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.