America’s leading training center for dance │The School at Jacob’s Pillow (2011)

America’s leading training center for dance │The School at Jacob’s Pillow (2011)


I fell like I’m growing so much in
a week and a half already. The way we get along; the way we work together; the way we inspire each other; the way we support each other.
My teachers see something in me. You grow so much as a person as well as a dancer or an artist. Classes that you’re able to take; shows that you’re able to see;
beautiful people; peaceful area; I mean you can’t get any better than that. This place is like heaven for any dancer. The school has a very all encompassing view
of dance just in the way that the festival does in everything that we present on all the three stages:
the faculty, the school, the scholars who come here and of course there are audience members who come
from all over the world. This is great. This is part of the whole spirit
and the philosophy and the texture of what the Pillow’s really about.
So the school, there’s sequential programs: there’s Ballet, Cultural Traditions, and that migrates around
the world according to different places in the world geographically and also just certain things that we really want to
explore at different times. And then after Cultural Traditions there’s Contemporary
Program then there’s Jazz/Musical Theater. All of these draw faculty from all over the
world. The dancers have work created on them by extraordinary choreographers. Our participants include dancers from literally all over the world Argentina, France, Greece, Sweden, Serbia Japan, Russia as well as all points in the United States It’s now starting to become a bit of a conservatory, and so it can be very selective who gets in. And so we look at the years of experience that they’ve had almost semi-professional, training at a pretty high level. Not that it means that someone that is not
at the top can’t get in. We look at potential. We are looking for artists that are looking to be professional performers
and they want more information. Here in a matter of three weeks they’re given with the Archives and the artists that come in another since of the possibility of what art can be in terms of dance. The student body is relatively small compared
with a lot of other programs. That’s intentional because the idea of the Pillow is to have hands on minds on kind of mentoring and coaching. They can sit one-on-one with the faculty, and they can understand more about
what is going to unlock that block that they may have. I have been mentoring people for years now, and helping them, and its what I do, and I just love to help young
dancers. I think they are so incredible young people. And its so hard to be a dancer now a days. And its so difficult to get contacts and get out and do things that they need someone to champion for them. The Pillow has been very helpful for me and Anna-Marie has been very nice. She has helped me and also other dancers try to get a career going in this program. I had masterclass with Nina and right after the masterclass I had Anna-Marie talk to Nina. They spoke all in russian so that upped the nerves a bit, and I didn’t know what she was saying,
and eventually she gave me her card and talked about me joining her company for the next season. And I said yes right away. Being part of the festival at Jacob’s Pillow was actually, um… I don’t think there’s a word to describe what that feels like to me. Because you look at the festival program and there are companies
that we’ve seen: Trey McIntyre the Trocks, Yin Mei and Kyle Abraham. To be part of that? It’s something that I certainly didn’t expect. The Jazz Happening I’m very excited about
because we get to perform with all these people that we’ve been working with
now, and other guests, which is just a great experience. I mean who would have ever thought I’d get to perform with
Chet Walker and Dana Moore and Bill Hastings and someone who was in Wicked. And we get to be on the same
stage as them and be back stage with them. Companies are walking around here all the
time, And you see, “Oh they’re just like me.” I think the Archives is great because you get to see the history of
Jacob’s Pillow. You get to see all the videos that they documented, and what this place
has gone through in so many years. I think that’s just a great place to go. I tell them on the first day, “your life is going to change.” Eyeballs roll, and by the second week they start realizing that my life is changing. My life is changing. So if your life is changing maybe your way of dancing, your way of absorbing information changes. And by the third
week when you realize the end is coming you’re on a train and you’re absorbing absorbing absorbing, and in that three-week period we bombard people with possibilities. When he applied to the Ballet Program this
summer he said he wanted to be here in order to “dig deeper into the art I can’t live without.” And we were pretty happy after he left the Ballet Program
just days later when he called us to tell us that this Fall he joins the main
company of American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice. If I was a young dancer with more time I would be so happy to come here and spend two weeks.
Jacob’s Pillow is a magical place. The setting is magical. The Ted Shawn Theatre is magical. Today I came and I heard Milton Myers teaching. A great-great modern dance teacher. And he was speaking to a room full of young people
and he was daring them to throw themselves into space. Daring them to invent a turn every time you perform it. And i guess he was daring them to be artists.

6 thoughts on “America’s leading training center for dance │The School at Jacob’s Pillow (2011)

  1. @blondeshorty09 Ah, some pretty amazing Inside Out performances from your program last summer. Are you coming back for Alumni Day?

  2. Thank you for posting this video. It brings back a lot of memories of being at the Pillow with my grandmother (Gertrude Hallenbeck) who tool me and my sister there when we were young. I am thankful to of had that experience because the Pillow in part taught me an appreciation for the art of dance. Next time I go back home to Albany I will be sure to take time to make a trip to the pillow.

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