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BECKET, MA: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival presents the world premiere of "And Still You Must Swing"

BECKET, MA: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival presents the world premiere of "And Still You Must Swing"


Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant


Doris Duke Theatre
358 George Carter Road
Becket, MA


Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 8:15pm daily through July 9, 2016
Saturday, July 9, 2016 - 2:15pm daily through July 10, 2016



Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant

JULY 6-10

June 29, 2016 – (Becket, MA) Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival presents the world premiere engagement of And Still You Must Swing with three of the world’s most celebrated tap dance luminaries—Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant—July    6-10 in the intimate Doris Duke Theatre. The program embraces masterful technique, musicality, and improvisation including a live onstage band and a star-studded cast with critically-acclaimed guest artist and 2016 Jacob‘s Pillow Dance Award recipient Camille A. Brown.

“We are experiencing a tap renaissance in this country and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick K. Grant are three of the exceptional artists at its core,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. ”That they are being joined by this year’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner Camille A. Brown is a gift.”

A “fiercely elegant” and “singularly authoritative artist” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times), Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards joins forces with Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith to present a dynamic project that captures the heart and legacy of tap dance, honoring the profound influence of jazz and swing. A highly-anticipated engagement, the cast returns to the Pillow following several celebrated individual engagements.

The program is a compilation of works both choreographed and improvised by Sumbry-Edwards and the cast, dedicated to the roots of the tap dance and larger swing community. Among other themes honoring the style’s history, Sumbry-Edwards celebrates the women who have contributed to the tap dance form in her solo work, while the second piece on the program Rhythm Migration also makes clear connections to cultural traditions that date back to African American Heritage in the face of deeply-seeded injustice.

Live musicians Allison Miller (Drums), Carmen Staaf (Piano), Alex Hernandez (Bass), and Gabriel Roxbury (Percussion) perform alongside the dancers throughout the evening, with musical composition by Miller and Sumbry-Edwards. An esteemed and prolific performer and composer, Miller was selected by the U.S. State Department to tour East Africa, Eurasia and Southeast Asia as Jazz Ambassador, among many other accolades. Special guest Lindy choreography by Dexter Jones. In collaboration with Divine Rhythm Productions, lighting design is by Sue Samuels; Styling by DaDE Collab with additional Styling for Camille A. Brown by Mayte Natalio and additional wardrobe for Jason Samuels Smith by Raymonds Mens Wear.


A performer with profound “grace, elegance, precision, and speed“ (Kathryn Holmes, Dance Magazine),  Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards has received a New York Dance and Performance ("Bessie“) Award, a Princess Grace Award and Astaire Award. Her Broadway credits include After Midnight, Black and Blue; Bring In Da’Noise, Bring In Da’Funk and its international tour (dance captain/principal/lead). Her film credits include TAP with Gregory Hines; Spike Lee's Bamboozled, and The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang (Best Actress Nomination). Among many other credits, Sumbry-Edwards was also Michael Jackson’s personal tap instructor.

Jason Samuels Smith, ”an innovator in perverse virtuosity” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times), holds many accolades including an Emmy Award, a Dance Magazine Award, and an American Choreography Award, among others. His work has been seen both on stage and screen including Broadway’s Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk (principal); Imagine Tap! (leading role); Black Nativity & Idlewild (associate tap choreographer); hit television series Psych; So You Think You Can Dance; and Dancing with the Stars. Smith is also the director of the annual Los Angeles Tap Festival.

Master performer, choreographer, and teacher Derick K. Grant’s dancing has been described as having “gusts of rhythm propel him with remarkable velocity” (Jack Anderson, The New York Times). Grant has received a Princess Grace Award, Helen Hayes Award, two Ovation Awards (Best Choreographer and Best Ensemble Performance), and a Lester Horton Dance Award. His credits include the Broadway tour of Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk, Imagine Tap! (Choreographer/Creator). Grant is the artistic director of Tap 2 You, a tap dance workshop that tours nationally.

The cast of And Still You Must Swing holds deep roots with Jacob’s Pillow. Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards co-choreographed and performed in Dorrance Dance’s The Blues Project (2013, 2015) alongside Derick K. Grant and 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient Michelle Dorrance. Jason Samuels Smith had a two-week engagement in the Doris Duke Theatre in 2009, and also held a faculty position in The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Tap Program in 2014.

Guest artist Camille A. Brown held two week-long engagements at the Pillow including Camille A. Brown & Dancers in 2010 and a joint program with Kyle Abraham titled Kyle & Camille in 2011. Brown directed the Social Dance program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2015, and is this year’s recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.

And Still You Must Swing
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, July 6 through Saturday July 9 at 8:15pm
Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 at 2:15pm


•        Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in Residence Suzanne Carbonneau are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before every performance.

•        A Post-Show Q&A with Gauthier Dance Artistic Personnel and Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe will take place onstage on Thursday, July 7.

•        Tickets start at $25. A limited number of $19 Under 35 Friday tickets are available for July 8; limit 2 per person, must be between the ages of 18 and 35. 

•        Box Office Hours: Sunday through Tuesday, 11am–5pm, Wednesday through Saturday 11am–8pm.

•        Jacob’s Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob’s Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped-accessible.


[Pictured: Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards. Photo by Eduardo Patino]

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