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Jacob's Pillow presents Jessica Lang Dance in "The Wanderer"

Jacob's Pillow presents Jessica Lang Dance in "The Wanderer"


Jessica Lang Dance


Doris Duke Theatre
358 George Carter Road
Becket, MA


Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 8:15pm daily through August 1, 2015
Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 2:15pm daily through August 2, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 8:15pm daily through August 8, 2015
Saturday, August 8, 2015 - 2:15pm daily through August 9, 2015



Jessica Lang Dance



July 26, 2015 – (Becket, MA) Contemporary ballet company Jessica Lang Dance, led by founder, choreographer, and Artistic Director Jessica Lang, returns to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival for an extended two-week run of The Wanderer, July 29-August 9 in the Doris Duke Theatre. Lang, whose prolific choreographic career began in 1999, has “a gift for conveying emotion with exquisite simplicity” (Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post). The Wanderer, Lang’s first full-length contemporary story ballet, is set to Franz Schubert’s famous song cycle “Die schöne Müllerin,” which will be performed live by baritones Steven LaBrie and John Boehr and pianist Tyson Deaton. Sweeping choreography paired with imaginative sets created by award-winning designer Mimi Lien, costumes by fashion designer and former Mark Morris Dance Group company member Bradon McDonald, and lighting by Nicole Pearce bring The Wanderer’s romantic narrative to life. The Wanderer was created in part during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow in 2014.  

The Wanderer, “which translates Schubert’s song cycle ‘Die schöne Müllerin’ into dance, is a work of high craftsmanship” (Brian Seibert, The New York Times). Schubert’s musical score of poems by 19th century Romantic poet Wilhelm Müller depicts the story of a young wanderer who explores the countryside, following a brook until he arrives at a mill. He falls in love with a miller’s daughter, but his love is unrequited, as the girl is instead wooed by a hunter. The heartbroken wanderer finally drowns himself in the brook out of despair. The wanderer, girl, hunter, and brook are each characters in Lang’s work, along with a small ensemble of four dancers that acts as the chorus. Mimi Lien’s inventive set design for The Wanderer features 2,700 yards of white string trees attached to the theater ceiling, creating a forest through which the dancers move, interact, and transform as the narrative progresses. Clifton Brown, noted for “the lyrical grace and translucent inwardness of his performances” (Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times), will dance the role of the Wanderer, along with Kirk Henning; both are founding members of Jessica Lang Dance. Other members of Lang’s accomplished cast have trained at The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, The Ailey School/Fordham University, New World School of the Arts, and the University of Oklahoma School of Dance, and performed with Kansas City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, among others.

Lang, a graduate of The Juilliard School and former company member in Twyla Tharp’s company THARP!, has created more than 85 ballets for companies across the U.S. and abroad. Praised for her expert visual constructions, “it’s easy to imagine her sketching as she choreographs, or carefully arranging her dancers one by one, like a photographer or still-life painter” (Tresca Weinstein, Dance Magazine). Just three years after founding Jessica Lang Dance, Lang received the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award at the 30th Annual New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) awards in 2014, and she became a New York City Center fellow shortly after in 2015. In addition to Jacob’s Pillow, her company has performed at renowned festivals and venues across the U.S., including BAM’s Next Wave Festival, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, among others.


This year marks Jessica Lang Dance’s third Pillow season since the company’s debut in 2012 in the Doris Duke Theatre. The company most recently performed Within the Space I Hold, A Solo in Nine Parts, Aria, White (film), and i.n.k as part of the 2013 season, after which Lang participated in a September 2014 Creative Development Residency when she created The Wanderer. She has also served as a guest choreographer in the Ballet Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2014, creating a work for the dancers which premiered at the 2014 Season Opening Gala in the Ted Shawn Theatre.


Founded in 2011, Jessica Lang Dance (JLD) is a New York City-based company dedicated to creating and performing the work of Jessica Lang. Hailed by Tresca Weinstein as "a master of visual composition” (Dance Magazine), Lang incorporates design elements and transforms classical ballet language into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging contemporary works. Since the company’s inception, marked by Lang receiving a Joyce Theater Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JLD has garnered significant attention and acclaim at major venues throughout the country including the full company debut at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 80th Anniversary Season in 2012. JLD has received support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation, The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Japan Foundation New York, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.


Jessica Lang, described as having "established a reputation for concocting ingenious choreographic interactions between dancing bodies and the movements of striking set and costume pieces" (Lisa Jo Sagolla, Kansas City Star), has worked with numerous companies including The National Ballet of Japan, Ailey II, Colorado Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet, among others. American Ballet Theatre presented her work at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2008 and 2011 while her ballet Lyric Pieces, commissioned and performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, earned a nomination for a coveted 2013 Manchester Theatre Award in the United Kingdom. She has received commissions from the Dallas Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum for Works and Process. Lang’s work has been performed by numerous educational institutions throughout the country. She is on faculty at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School as well as a teaching artist for the Make A Ballet program. Lang recently developed her own methodology called LANGuage, a unique creative curriculum that teaches individuals from all populations to cultivate the habit of creative thinking through exercise. 


Jessica Lang Dance in The Wanderer
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, July 29 through Saturday, August 1 at 8:15pm
Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2 at 2:15pm
Wednesday, August 5 through Saturday, August 8 at 8:15pm
Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9 at 2:15pm

·         Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in Residence Brian Schaefer (July 29-August 2) and Nancy Wozny (August 5-9) are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before every performance.

·         A Post-Show Q&A with Jessica Lang Dance Artistic Personnel will take place onstage on Thursday, July 30 (with Scholar-in-Residence Brain Schaefer) and Thursday, August 6 (with Scholar-in-Residence Nancy Wozny).

·         Tickets $35-$45, A limited number of $19 Under 35 Friday tickets are available for July 31 and August 7; 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.

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