Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival was founded by Ted Shawn in 1933 in the Berkshires at Becket, MA. The Pillow is home to a world-renowned international dance Festival that presents dance annually on three performance stages for nearly three months. The Pillow also supports artists to create new work through commissions and Creative Development Residencies.
The School at Jacob’s Pillow encompasses a professional advancement program for dancers and choreographers as well as an Intern Program that trains young professionals in all areas of production and arts administration. Alumni of The School have gone on to perform with prestigious dance companies, in film, television and on Broadway, and former interns have been employed at arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, British Council, and Mark Morris Dance Group.
The Pillow’s rare and extensive Archives, open year-round to the public free of charge, chronicles the art form of dance in film, video, photographs, oral histories, correspondence, books, costumes, posters, audiotapes, and scrapbooks. Jacob’s Pillow’s year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults, and are yet another part of the Pillow’s cultural legacy. Jacob’s Pillow is the first and only dance entity in the United States to be declared a National Historic Landmark for the significance of its contribution to America’s culture—past and present.
The Pillow’s 163-acre site was originally a family farm in the late 1700s. In the 1800s, the Pillow was known as a station on the Underground Railroad and in 2007, it was dedicated as a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.
Jacob’s Pillow subscriptions
Jacob’s Pillow subscribers receive early ordering and renewal privileges, free ticket exchange (up to 48 hour prior to performance) and ticket discounts. Two subscription options include: Full Season Subscriptions, in which subscribers purchase tickets to all ten Ted Shawn Theatre performances or all eight Doris Duke Theatre performances, and Flex 5+ Subscriptions, in which subscribers create their own schedule choosing five or more performances, any day, any time. New this year, subscription orders can be submitted online at www.jacobspillow.org. Jacob’s Pillow Members receive earliest ordering privileges as Member subscription orders are processed before Non-Member subscription orders. Memberships are available at any time, starting at $60/year. All orders are accepted via mail, and fax, beginning January 30. Box Office phone ordering and walk-up windows open March 2; Monday-Friday, 10am – 5pm, with additional hours during the Festival.
Jacob’s Pillow single ticketing
Jacob’s Pillow Member single ticketing begins March 25. Single ticket ordering opens to the public on April 8. Specially priced $10 youth matinée tickets (recommended for children ages 8 – 16) are available for certain weekend matinees of Groupe Emile Dubois, Jason Samuels Smith and A.C.G.I. (Anybody Can Get It), Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mujeres, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Box Office phone ordering open March 2; Monday-Friday, 10am – 5pm, with additional hours during the Festival.
Free Public Programs – Inside/Out
In addition to the more than 110 ticketed performances it presents each year, Jacob’s Pillow offers many other free activities and opportunities to enjoy dance. Of the more than 50 dance companies to be presented at Jacob’s Pillow in 2009, more than half can be seen performing on the Inside/Out, a unique outdoor performance space nestled in the bucolic hills of the Berkshires, for free. The Inside/Out series includes presentations of emerging dance companies, artists from all over the world, and informal showings by the professional-track students of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, Wednesdays through Saturdays during the season. Schedule will be announced in April.
Jacob’s Pillow Exhibits and Archives
Annual exhibits in four venues throughout the Pillow’s National Historic Landmark grounds display photographs, video, artifacts and other engaging visual material that enrich the visitor’s experience of dance. The Archives, documenting dance and Pillow history from 1894 to the present, welcome both the general public and artistic and scholarly researchers to view videos of recent performances or historic films from years past, and browse dance or related art and history books. Two interactive touch screen kiosks, one in the Archives and another in the Welcome Center, offer video clips, photos, and information spanning the Festival’s history. The full resources of the Archives are available to the public free of charge on a drop-in basis Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon until final curtain.
Jacob’s Pillow Talks
More than 140 enlightening and informative talks range from in-depth hour-long PillowTalks, to brief Pre-Show Talks which introduce audiences to the performance they are about to attend, and Post-Show Talks with the artists just after they step offstage. All talks are free and open to the public. PillowTalks take place in Blake’s Barn, Wednesdays 5pm and Saturdays 4pm, providing varied opportunities to gain insight from dancers, choreographers, musicians, filmmakers, visual designers, historians, and other experts. Pre-Show Talks are given by Pillow Scholars-in-Residence and take place 30 minutes before every performance in Blake’s Barn and on the Doris Duke Theatre porch. Post-Show Talks are moderated discussions with Scholars-in Residence and dancers/artistic personnel and take place following the performances on Thursdays in the Ted Shawn Theatre and Fridays in the Doris Duke Theatre.
Jacob’s Pillow Tours, Classes, Observations, and More
During the season, free guided tours of the 163-acre campus leave from the Welcome Center every Friday and Saturday at 5:30pm, and patrons can pick up a self-guided tour map anytime to explore the grounds on their own. Ted Shawn hosted the first Jacob’s Pillow patrons in the historic Tea Garden, adjoining the studio where his Men Dancers performed. The Tea Garden still welcomes visitors today; they can enjoy seasonal plantings and watch artist rehearsals through the doors of the adjacent Bakalar Studio. Patrons are also welcome to visit The School at Jacob’s Pillow and observe renowned artist faculty working with emerging professional dancers, either on a drop-in basis or pre-arranged for groups larger than four. Dance, Pilates and yoga classes are offered to the public Mondays – Fridays at 8am and are open to all experience levels (modest class fee required). Master classes with artists of the Doris Duke Theatre are offered every Sunday at 10:30am for intermediate to advanced dancers (modest class fee required). Master classes are also open for public observation, without charge. For Community Class information call 413.243.9919.
Dining at Jacob’s Pillow
Jacob’s Pillow offers many dining options including the Pillow Café, a full-service open air restaurant on The Great Lawn; the Pillow Pub, offering casual fare, ready-to-go picnics, and a full bar; and the Coffee & Ice Cream Bar. Many visitors will bring a picnic lunch or dinner from home and dine on The Great Lawn or while taking in a performance on the Inside/Out stage.
The Store at Jacob’s Pillow
Visitors can shop onsite for logo items, clothes, gifts, books, and music; all proceeds benefit Jacob’s Pillow.