July 6, 2022 (BECKET, Mass.)—At the forefront of artistic innovation in contemporary ballet, San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet celebrates its 40th Anniversary in the Ted Shawn Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow with a range of works showcasing their remarkable company of dancers. Additionally, one-night-only performances will be presented on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, featuring Les Ballet Afrik, Indigenous Enterprise, Soles of Duende, Freedom Dabka Group, and the Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble at the School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Les Ballet Afrik will kick off the week’s performances on the outdoor Leir Stage on Aug. 3 at 6pm; Native American and Canadian company Indigenous Enterprise will dance on Aug. 4; and Soles of Duende Percussive Trio, with an opening performance by Freedom Dabka Group, will take the stage on Aug. 5. Additionally, The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble will appear on the outdoor stage on Saturday evening, sharing work generated in rehearsals for an upcoming Broadway revival of 1776, co-directed and choreographed by Jeffrey Page with Diane Paulus.

Alongside these live performances, Jacob’s Pillow will host two free PillowTalks in Blake’s Barn during week seven of the Festival: one celebrating the life of dance pioneer Ann Hutchinson Guest in a program called “Ann Hutchinson Guest’s Century+,” and another one featuring Yve Laris Cohen, who will talk about his upcoming Pillow-related exhibition entitled “Studio/Theater” at The Museum of Modern Art. 

“Alonzo King is one of the country’s greatest innovators in reinventing classical ballet,” Pamela Tatge said, Executive and Artistic Director. “After having to cancel their engagement in 2020, it turns out to be a blessing that we can be a part of their 40th Anniversary with a program of dazzling and joy-filled works that celebrate the legacy and future of this extraordinary company.” 

In this week’s program, Alonzo King LINES Ballet will perform works set to music by composers including Gabriel Fauré, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain, as well as AZOTH, inspired by the element mercury, with music by venerable jazz musicians including saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist/composer Jason Moran. This bold work features a light installation by renowned Bay Area artist Jim Campbell. When the program premiered in the company’s native San Francisco, it was called “absolutely a triumph” by The Bay Area Reporter.

Les Ballet Afrik will perform excerpts from founder Omari Wiles’ New York is Burning, which is inspired by Omari Wiles’ background in ballroom, West African dance, house, Afrobeat, vogue, and more. The company has been supported by Works & Process at the Guggenheim with a series of bubble and LaunchPAD residencies spanning 2019-2022, and has performed in the Guggenheim’s famous rotunda.

After taking New York’s Joyce Theater by storm last fall, Indigenous Enterprise will showcase their explosively jubilant dances and colorful regalia honoring the legacies of their elders. Their new intertribal work Indigenous Liberation features songs, stories, and dances from Turtle Island (a traditional term for North America), led by champion powwow dancers. The work will highlight Men’s Fancy War Dance (Ponca), Jingle Dress (Ojibwa), Hoop (Taos Pueblo), Chicken Dance (Blackfoot), Flute (Cree), and Grass Dance (Omaha), in a celebration of what lies at the heart of these powerful traditions. 

The three members of Soles of Duende are bonded by a deep love of music, craft, and connection. Featuring Amanda Castro, Brinda Guha, and Arielle Rosales, they blend tap dance, kathak, and flamenco into a vibrant percussive mix for the stage. The multicultural trio celebrates connections across different styles of dance and music-making and are making their Pillow debut this summer.

Opening for Soles of Duende Percussive Trio and also making their Pillow debut, Brooklyn, New York-based Freedom Dabka Group is an Arabic folk dance with origins in the Levantine region of Middle East culture. Using both dance and music, the Freedom Dabka Group will engage audiences through a percussive art form that their ancestors have practiced for centuries.

ABOUT ALONZO KING LINES BALLET

To reimagine and reinvent classical ballet is at the heart of Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Founded in 1982 by artistic legend Alonzo King, the company strives to nurture the entire human spirit and body. Through active collaboration, performance, and education, Alonzo King LINES Ballet develops creative expression and potential within the human body. Also dedicated to change combined with a reverence for legacy, LINES Ballet missions to craft dancers with deeply rooted affinities. Since its founding, the company has been featured in notable venues worldwide, including the Venice Biennale, Monaco Dance Forum, and Maison de la Danse de Lyon. 

In an effort to cultivate the lives of developing dancers, LINES Ballet is also home to some nationally-recognized community programs such as LINES Training Program and Summer Program, LINES Dance Center, as well as its joint BFA Program with Dominican University of California. 

Named as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” (The New York Times), King calls his work “thought structures,” which alters the way audiences see traditional ballet. This creative inspiration comes from King’s family’s long history within the civil rights movement. King’s father, Slater King, served as the president of the Albany Movement, while his relative Martin Luther King Jr. expressed similar messages of equality during the same era. This undenying commitment to justice and change became King’s motivation for developing LINES Ballet. Today, the company continues its significant history by portraying pieces that are both thought-provoking and challenging.

ABOUT LES BALLET AFRIK

Under the direction of founder Omari Wiles, Les Ballet Afrik combines dance styles from Africa and the United States. Previously seen performing at the Lincoln Center and Gibney Dance, Les Ballet Afrik brings new heights of diversity and culture to stages everywhere.

The company was formed to reflect the multi-talented background of its founder. Born in Senegal, Wiles began training in West African dance at the age of six under his parents’ company, The Maimouna Ketia School of African Dance. Based on a lifetime foundation of traditional African dance from his parents, Wiles later added modern and ballroom to soon become the diverse legend he is today. Wiles’ company serves as a physical place to showcase his experience mixing various cultures into one.

ABOUT INDIGENOUS ENTERPRISE

Indigenous Enterprise, directed by champion dancer Kenneth Shirley, is a Native American dance group whose mission is to increase the visibility of Native American culture. With dancers from across the U.S. and Canada, the group performs Native dances to new audiences in an effort to bring Indigenous representation to greater heights. Since the formation of the company, Shirley has implemented the three P’s—preservation, performance, and progression—a goal that encourages utmost recognition among Indigenous societies.

Today, Indigenous Enterprise stands as a thriving legacy for Indigenous communities and continues to publicize its traditions to audiences across the globe. Most recently, Indigenous Enterprise was featured on season four of NBC’s World of Dance and has also made appearances in Vogue and The New York Times. 

ABOUT SOLES OF DUENDE PERCUSSIVE TRIO

Formed in 2017, Soles of Duende is an all-female musical and dance group built for the purpose of finding truth, connection, and narrative between each other. Featuring members Amanda Castro (tap), Brinda Guha (kathak), and Arielle Rosales (flamenco), the trio’s mission is to gain harmony among their respective differences. Through the trio’s universal language of dance, music, and art, Soles of Duende builds community and brings cultures together. 

ABOUT FREEDOM DABKA GROUP

Freedom Dabka Group is a professional brotherhood dedicated to preserving and spreading Palestinian culture. Established in 2012 among six family members, Freedom Dabka Group has become a cultural icon of the New York and New Jersey Middle Eastern community, bringing a modern interpretation to Dabka folk dances and to Zaffa music and songs by performing in celebratory and cultural events across the United States and Canada.

For years, the FDG has gained great popularity among their community and beyond. Some notable collaborations include performances with Mohammas Assaf, Amir Dandan, Yacoub Shaheen, and many more prestigious musicians. The group has also been featured in various news outlets and some countries around the world. 

Jacob’s Pillow Connections 

Alonzo King LINES Ballet made its Pillow debut in Festival 2000 with Tango, In to Get Out, and Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?. Two years later, the contemporary ballet returned to the Ted Shawn Theatre to perform Alonzo King’s The Heart’s Natural Inclination, Klang, Tarab, and Koto. In July 2005, the company premiered Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner? for a second time, alongside Alonzo King’s Before the Blues.

Additionally, Alonzo King was the recipient of the 2008 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. In the same year, his company performed at the Pillow for the fourth time at the Ted Shawn Theatre with Migration. Choreographed by Alonzo King and featuring company dancers, the piece’s abstract imagery captures the delicate journey of winged animals. The same program featured Rasa, a work set to tabla music by Zakir Hussain and Kala Ramnath.

Most recently, in 2015, Alonzo King LINES Ballet returned to the Pillow to perform Biophony on the Ted Shawn Theatre. Choreographed by Alonzo King, the work features company dancers in a movement story inspired by the sounds of nature. As well, company dancers performed Concerto For Two Violins and Men’s Quintet in the 2015 showing.

Omari Wiles performed in the Doris Duke Theatre with Ephrat Asherie Dance in a piece called Odeon in 2018. Choreographed by Ephrat Asherie, the work draws from break dance, house, hip-hop, and vogue. Odeon was created during a Pillow Lab residency. 

In addition to his live performance, Omari Wiles and Ephrat Asherie hosted an “All Styles Dance Battle” in 2018 with festival artists, dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, pillow staff, and more. Likewise, on July 28, 2020, Wiles also taught an online Vogue Femme Master Class as part of Festival 2020.

Indigenous Enterprise first entered Pillow grounds during their Pillow Lab residency in October 2021 for their work Indigenous Liberation. Following the in-process series, the piece debuted at the Joyce Theater in November.

Prior to Indigenous Enterprise’s live debut, founder Kenneth Shirley and fellow group member Tyrenn Lodgepole participated in Jacob’s Pillow’s week-long “The Land on Which We Dance” program in August 2019. Shirley performed Men’s Fancy War Dance and Lodgepole performed Men’s Chicken Dance in the campus-wide event.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive: 

Alonzo King LINES Ballet in Biophony in 2015:

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/alonzo-kings-lines-ballet/biophony/

Alonzo King LINES Ballet in Migration in 2008: 

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/alonzo-kings-lines-ballet/migration/

Omari Wiles with Ephrat Asherie Dance in Odeon in 2018:

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/ephrat-asherie-dance/odeon/

Kenneth Shirley in Men’s Fancy War Dance in 2019:

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/kenneth-shirley/mens-fancy-war-dance/

Tyrenn Lodgepole in Men’s Chicken Dance in 2019:

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/tyrenn-lodgepole/mens-chicken-dance/

PERFORMANCE & TICKET DETAILS

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Aug. 3-7, Wed.-Sat. at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2pm 

Ted Shawn Theatre 

Tickets starting at $55 

Tickets on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org and via phone at 413.243.0745

Les Ballet Afrik

Wed., Aug. 3, 6pm 

Henry J. Leir Stage 

Tickets starting at $25

Tickets on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org and via phone at 413.243.0745

Indigenous Enterprise

Thurs., Aug. 4, 6pm 

Henry J. Leir Stage 

Tickets starting at $25

Tickets on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org and via phone at 413.243.0745

Soles of Duende Percussive Trio

With opening performance by Freedom Dabka Group

Fri., Aug. 5, 6pm 

Henry J. Leir Stage 

Tickets starting at $25

Tickets on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org and via phone at 413.243.0745

The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble

Sat., Aug. 6, 6pm 

Henry J. Leir Stage 

FREE

Tickets on sale now; online at jacobspillow.org and via phone at 413.243.0745

ALSO THIS WEEK

Pillow Pride

Sat., Aug. 6

Our annual LGBTQIA+ celebration returns, bigger and better than ever. Attend our most popular dance party of the summer, as well as free events, surprise performances, and a special tour honoringPillow founder Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers.

Public Tour at Jacob’s Garden

Sat., Aug. 6, 12:30pm

Meet at the Warren Davis Welcome Center

FREE

Jacob’s Pillow inaugurated Jacob’s Garden in 2021 in a pilot partnership with Adam Weinert and Brett Perry of the Dancing Farmer, LLC. The 1.5-acre garden is a place to grow fruits and vegetables and connect to the land’s multiple histories, drawing direct inspiration from Ted Shawn’s original 1931 “friendship garden.” On two summer Saturdays, visitors can tour the garden beds, apiary, rainwater harvesting system, and pollinator meadow of Jacob’s Garden. Meet at the Warren Davis Welcome Center.

PillowTalk: Ann Hutchinson Guest’s Century+

Sat., Aug. 6, 4pm 

Blake’s Barn 

FREE 

Celebrating the life of dance notation pioneer Ann Hutchinson Guest (1918-2022), friends and fans consider her legacy and her extraordinarily deep roots at Jacob’s Pillow.

The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble

Sat., Aug. 6, 6pm 

Henry J. Leir Stage 

Free

Program Director of the Musical Theatre Program is Jeffrey Page, an opera and theatre director of both classical and contemporary works. As director and choreographer, he spearheaded the 2015 and 2018 Tokyo productions of the musical Memphis, which received four Yomiuri Award nominations, including Best Musical. This presentation opportunity for the Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble shares numbers and ideas generated during collaborative rehearsals informed by preparations for the Broadway revival of 1776, choreographed by Page and co-directed with Diane Paulus.

Workshop with Festival Artists: Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Sun., Aug. 7, 10-11:30am

Event details to be announced soon.

PillowTalk: “Studio/Theater” at MoMA

Sun., Aug. 7, 4pm

Blake’s Barn

FREE

Yve Laris Cohen’s work intersects with both dance and the visual arts, and his upcoming exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art will repurpose remains from the Doris Duke Theatre fire.

FESTIVAL 2022 EXHIBITS & ARCHIVES—ONGOING

Now & Then: Evocative Dance Portraits by Christopher Duggan 

Blake’s Barn

Tuesday-Sunday, noon through final curtain

FREE

Photography has been an integral part of Jacob’s Pillow throughout its 90 seasons, and Festival Photographer Christopher Duggan has often mined this tradition for inspiration, culminating in these pairings of vintage and contemporary images. 

The Ted Shawn Theatre: An Evolving Landmark 

Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby

Open daily, noon through final curtain

FREE

While the unveiling of an entirely new stage house takes the focus in 2022, this landmark structure has been a “work in progress” ever since its opening in 1942. Through vintage imagery and artifacts on display, the rich history of America’s first dance theater comes into view. 

Jacob’s Pillow Archives/Norton Owen Reading Room 

Blake’s Barn

Tuesday-Sunday, noon through final curtain

FREE

This spacious, informal library and reading room allows visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow’s computer catalog, or peruse permanent collections of Pillow programs and photographs from the Archives. The Norton Owen Reading Room and new Special Collections Room also feature recent donations and more archival treasures from the Stephan Driscoll Collection. 

Online Exhibit: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive 

This evolving online resource features breathtaking video highlights of Pillow performances from the

early 1930s through today, with an expanded section of multimedia essays featuring talks, photos, and

other exclusive content organized into various themes. danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org.

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 celebrating its 90th Anniversary Season. Jacob’s Pillow ackonwledges that it rests on the unceded lands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok and recognizes the Agawam, Nipmuc, and Pocumtuc who also made their homes in Western Massachusetts. We honor their elders past, present, and future. Each Festival includes national and international dance companies and 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 Executive and Artistic Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org

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