The Season Opening Gala is at the top of the Jacob’s Pillow 2010 schedule of dance in the Berkshires. The event will include a performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre, dinner and dancing, and presentation of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to choreographer and director Bill T. Jones.
The Gala begins at 6pm with an exclusive mixed bill performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Festival artist Nina Ananiashvili, named the “definition of grace” by Masha Savitz of The Epoch Times and “classical ballet’s undeniable superstar” by Clive Barnes of The New York Post, performs the iconic solo The Dying Swan. The signature role of Russian ballet legend Anna Pavlova, The Dying Swan was choreographed for Pavlova in 1905 by Mikhail Fokine. “The Dying Swan is not about a woman impersonating a bird,” says Allegra Kent, former Balanchine ballerina, in an article for The New York Times, “it’s about the fragility of life – all life – and the passion with which we hold on to it.” Ananiashvili will perform to live music by master cellist Yehuda Hanani.
Three Creative Development Residency artists who created work at Jacob’s Pillow this past year are also featured on the Gala program. Dancer/choreographer Kyle Abraham will performs his whirlwind contemporary solo Inventing Pookie Jenkins; Camille A. Brown, called “a pixie-ish powerhouse” by The San Francisco Chronicle, debuts a new duet; and Monica Bill Barnes & Company performs high-energy excerpts from Another Parade, set to the music of Bach and James Brown. The students of The School at Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program will perform a world premiere choreographed on them in just four days by acclaimed contemporary ballet artist Karole Armitage, set to a musical score by Boston-based composer Christine Southworth. Films honoring Bill T. Jones and a new film montage from the Pillow Archives will be premiered. Ella Baff will personally present the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to Bill T. Jones.
Following the performance, guests will enjoy dinner and dancing under the festive Gala tent on the Pillow’s Great Lawn, with live music by The E-Water Band. A live auction will kick off the Pillow’s $100,000 “Save the Inside/Out Stage” public fundraising effort. A silent auction to benefit The School at Jacob’s Pillow, as well as the Pillow’s community enrichment programs, includes fine art photography by noted artists, an original print by Jules Feiffer, unique travel packages, and much more.
The 2010 Season Opening Gala is chaired by Helice Picheny and Hunter K. Runnette. Individual tickets are $350-$750 and tables of eight are available for purchase from $2,800-$6,000. Call 413.243.9919 x126 for more information and to purchase tickets. All proceeds directly support the Festival, School, Archives, and Community Programs of Jacob’s Pillow.
About the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award: The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award was created in 2007 with an ongoing, annual anonymous gift of $50,000, of which $25,000 is given to an artist of exceptional vision. In addition to the cash award, the honoree receives a custom-designed glass sculpture by Berkshire-based artist Tom Patti, whose work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among other prominent collections worldwide. In 2007, the inaugural Award was given to Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, co-directors of Big Dance Theater. In 2008, Alonzo King, Artistic Director of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, was honored and in 2009 the Award was given to Merce Cunningham, whose company gave its final performances during his lifetime at Jacob’s Pillow.
The other $25,000 of the annual gift supports Jacob’s Pillow commissions, presentations, and the Creative Development Residency Program, which has supported Festival 2010 artists Monica Bill Barnes, Kyle Abraham, and Camille A. Brown, all of whom will perform at the June 19 Gala.
The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award emphasizes the Pillow’s commitment to support choreographers at various stages of their careers, and to support the creation of new work through the Pillow’s Creative Development Residency Program. During these residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio space, and access to the Pillow’s rare and extensive Archives and other Pillow resources. In the beautiful, retreat-like atmosphere of the Pillow, the Creative Development Residencies are rare opportunities for artists to focus on the creative process without distraction.