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The School at Jacob's Pillow Announces 2015 Programs and Faculty

The School at Jacob's Pillow Announces 2015 Programs and Faculty


The School at Jacob's Pillow


Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival


Wednesday, December 31, 2014 - 8:00pm



The School at Jacob's Pillow






December 22, 2014 (Becket, Mass.) —In the summer of 2015, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, a world renowned center for professional dance training will present Professional Advancement Programs in Ballet, Contemporary, Musical Theatre Dance, and an new program titled Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop. These programs will take place during the 83rd annual Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, led by a highly-distinguished artist faculty, and offer an incomparable combination of studio, performance, and Festival experiences.

At The School at Jacob’s Pillow, pre-professional students and early-career professional dancers from around the globe are immersed in an intense professional training environment involving classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions six days a week, and are given rare opportunities to perform weekly for Festival audiences. The 2015 Program Directors include internationally celebrated ballet legend Anna-Marie Holmes; contemporary dance mentor and faculty of The Ailey School and Juilliard Dance Division Milton Myers; Broadway veteran, choreographer, and director Chet Walker; New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award-winning choreographer and artistic director Camille A. Brown with artist and scholar E. Moncell Durden; along with other acclaimed artists, choreographers, and artistic directors on faculty.

The School at Jacob’s Pillow is located in the picturesque Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Each year, up to 100 dancers from approximately 3,000 auditioned are invited to take part in the Professional Advancement Programs of The School: Ballet, Cultural Traditions (Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop in 2015), Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance. The Cultural Traditions Program rotates annually, reflecting relevant dance styles and trends of the current global community. Previous years have brought tap, commercial dance, flamenco, Pacific Island traditions, and many other forms of dance to The School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Dancers selected for each program are immersed in the unparalleled Festival environment with access to professional performances, artist and scholar talks, exhibits, and master classes by Festival artists; the opportunity to study in the Archives, one of the field’s most treasured dance resources; and interactions with peers and living legends of the world-wide dance community. The School experience involves an intensive class and rehearsal schedule, performing works-in-progress weekly for Festival audiences, coaching and seminar sessions; all demanding technical and performance skills, stamina, perseverance, risk-taking, and creative collaboration.

"We want dancers to thrive when they depart,” says “J.R.” Glover, Jacob’s Pillow Director of Education.  “The experiences offered, inside and out of the studio, are to hone artistry, cultivate career-building relationships, and attain that extra edge to work successfully as an artist.”

Notable alumni of The School include Artistic Director of Royal Danish Ballet Nikolaj Hübbe, So You Think You Can Dance and Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels, celebrated choreographer and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Meredith Monk, former Director of Choreography of Merce Cunningham Dance Company and a Trustee for the Merce Cunningham Trust Robert Swinston, MTV Video Music Award winner for Best Choreography Jeffrey Page, Chez Bushwick Founder and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, and acclaimed choreographer Emery LeCrone. Others appear regularly in Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch,” on Broadway, and in major companies worldwide. In 2014, 43 alumni returned to the Festival as artistic directors, choreographers, and performers. For additional notable alumni, visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/programs/alumni-of-the-school-at-jacobs-pillow.php.



2015 Professional Advancement Programs

Ballet, June 15-28

Ballet luminary Anna-Marie Holmes and a distinguished international faculty prepare dancers for the artistic range and technical rigor required by today’s world-class ballet companies. Choreographer Matthew Neenan, BalletX co-founder and co-artistic director, will create and rehearse a new work on the dancers in just four days. Participants will perform its world premiere at the Festival’s Opening Gala on June 20, on a program with American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Daniil Simkin, and other artists. Dancers also receive in-depth coaching in renowned classical solo, pas de deux, and ensemble works by renowned choreographers, dancers, and teachers in the field. Select works learned during the program are performed June 27 as a part of the free Inside/Out outdoor performance series.

Separate men’s and women’s classes are part of the curriculum, as are seminars in career development, musicality, style characteristics, and ballet history. Attending Festival performances, public talks, exhibits, master classes, and studying in the Archives are integral to this immersion experience in dance. This year, the Ballet Program will coincide with the Festival appearances of Ballet BC and New York Theatre Ballet, allowing optimal educational experiences for Ballet Program participants. Alumni of The School at Jacob’s Pillow are members of American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Het Nationale Ballet, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and more.

In her 15th season as Ballet Program Director, Anna-Marie Holmes remains an internationally acclaimed master teacher, choreographer, and dance luminary, as well as a recipient of the prestigious Dance Magazine Award and Emmy Award for her staging of Le Corsaire for American Ballet Theatre’s PBS Great Performance. BC Artistic Director and proclaimed “Dance Artist of the Year” in 2013 (The Globe and Mail). Faculty include Hungarian National Ballet Director, Ballet Master, and Dancer Tamás Solymosi and Emily Molnar will lead a Master Class. Other Ballet Program Artist Faculty to be announced.

For 11 male and 11 female advanced pre-professional or professional level ballet dancers, age 16 and up. Priority consideration given to video audition applicants received  by February 13.

Visit jacobspillow.org for faculty bios and program updates.


Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop June 29–July 12

In this brand new program, Camille A. Brown and E. Moncell Durden, in collaboration with an esteemed roster of dancers, musicians, and scholars, foster a rare opportunity to explore African American social dances, from authentic jazz to hip-hop The program will involve learning the aesthetic values and political histories embedded in various social dances and examining the multiple influences and identities that remain embodied within dances of today. Dancers will experience first-hand the rhythms, moods, character, dynamics, creative expression, and improvisation of social dances, and share them with the public July 4 and July 11, as part of the free outdoor Inside/Out performance series.

The continuum of African American social dance will be further explored through readings, film screenings, and discussions with prominent artists and academics in the field. Attending Festival performances, public talks, exhibits, master classes, and studying in the Archives are integral to this immersion experience in dance. The Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop Program will coincide with the engagements of Festival artists Big Dance Theater, Dorrance Dance, Nederlands Dance Theater 2, and BODYTRAFFIC, offering a unique opportunity to experience a wide range of choreographic and performance approaches, traditions, and innovations during the program.

Camille A. Brown, whose recent musical theater work has furthered her expertise in this area, is a two-time Princess Grace Award recipient, two-time recipient of New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project: Production Grant, the recipient of 2014 Joyce Award with DANCECleveland, a 2014 New York City Center Choreography Fellow, a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award Winner, and a TED2015 Fellow. Brown is the Artistic Director of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, a Broadway choreographer (A Streetcar Named Desire, 2012; Fortress of Solitude, 2014; Stagger Lee, 2015), and a previously commissioned artist for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Philadanco, Urban Bush Women, and Complexions, among others.

Dancer, choreographer, ethnographer, documentarian, filmmaker, and scholar E. Moncell Durden is a well-respected member of both the hip-hop and academic communities. Durden has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College and will begin on faculty at University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance this year. He has danced, toured, and choreographed as a member of Mop Top Music & Movement and Rennie Harris Puremovement.

For 24 multi-form dancers (commercial, hip-hop, jazz, modern, musical theatre, swing, and others), age 16 and up, ready to be open, challenged, and transformed physically and intellectually.


Contemporary, July 13-August 2

Under the direction of contemporary dance mentor and master teacher Milton Myers, studio work and performance experiences prepare dancers to meet the expectations and requirements of today’s most in-demand artistic directors. Supported by a stylistically diverse and highly-acclaimed faculty, Myers will have new or repertory works set on the program participants by top choreographers in the field each week, which will be presented to the public as a part of the free outdoor Inside/Out performance series on July 18, July 25, and August 1. Guest choreographers for 2015 will include 2013 MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham, 2013 Guggenheim Fellow Brian Brooks, and Ballet BC Artistic Director Emily Molnar.

Dancers are coached in multiple movement vocabularies, styles, techniques, and performance skills to deepen their ability to communicate choreographic intent and advance their development as articulate, versatile artists. Career discussions and daily classes in ballet, body conditioning, and contemporary dance are led by a distinguished master faculty. The Contemporary Program will coincide with the appearances of Festival artists Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang in Monchichi, Daniil Simkin’s INTENSIO, Gauthier Dance, Daniel Ulbricht & Stars of American Ballet, and Jessica Lang Dance. Participants of the program utilize Festival performances, the extensive dance Archives, and talks with artists and scholars as supplementary material to their training each day.

In his 29th year as the Contemporary Program Director, Milton Myers is recognized worldwide as a master teacher, acting as resident choreographer and instructor of Philadanco as well as a faulty member of The Ailey School, the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program, and The Juilliard School. Myers will lead a diversely talented faculty, including LeeSaar The Company Artistic Director and Gaga USA Executive Producer Saar Harari; former Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Hamburg Ballet soloist Peter Brandenhoff; assistant to Program Director Milton Myers Aya Kaneko; former Ballet Mistress for the American Ballroom Theatre and choreographer for Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Pamela Pribisco; recipient of the 2007 Princess Grace Award and Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer Meredith Webster; and prolific choreographer and The Julliard School Ballet faculty member Alphonse Poulin.

For 12 male and 12 female contemporary dancers at an advanced pre-professional or professional level with strong performance skills, age 16 and up.

Musical Theatre Dance, August 3-24

Chet Walker invites award-winning Broadway choreographers, directors, composers/arrangers, and musicians to work collaboratively and create original numbers on dancers, with the same fast-pace and rigor required to audition and mount Broadway productions. Training reflects the necessity for well-versed and multi-faceted Broadway performers, focusing on dance styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop to Fosse jazz, with one-on-one vocal training and career discussions with top artists in the field. In three weeks, dancers present excerpts of works for the public as part of the free outdoor performance series on August 8, 15, and 22. Working as an ensemble, the program will close with a cumulative performance of the works created on participants with a live band and guest alumni. A Jazz Happening will be presented on August 23 in the historic Ted Shawn Theatre with proceeds benefitting The School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Daily technique classes focus on styles seen on the Broadway stage today including ballet, jazz, musical theatre dance, hip-hop, and tap. Participants of the program will rehearse afternoons and evenings with choreographers and musicians and receive one-on-one vocal training, audition coaching, and career-building discussions as a part of the curriculum. The Musical Theatre Dance Program will coincide with the engagements of Festival artists Malpaso Dance Company, Jessica Lang Dance, The Sarasota Ballet, La Otra Orilla, L.A. Dance Project, Liz Gerring Dance, Martha Graham Dance Company, and MADboots Dance.  Attending Festival performances, public talks, exhibits, master classes, and studying in the Archives are integral to this immersion experience in dance.

A prominently featured performer in the musicals of Bob Fosse, Chet Walker enters his 17th season as the Musical Theatre Dance Program Director. Conceiver of the Tony Award-winning musical Fosse, Walker is an internationally lauded director/choreographer, and Artistic Director of WALKERDANCE. As a choreographer, his work in the Tony Awarded Best Musical Revival Pippin earned a 2013 Tony Nomination for Best Choreography and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography. Guest choreographers and Artist Faculty for the program will be announced at jacobspillow.org.

For 12 male and 12 female musical theatre dancers at an advanced pre-professional or professional level with singing and acting experience, age 16 and up.


Auditions and Application:

Auditions, in person or by video, and a written application are required. Video auditions (by online video hosting website) are required for Ballet, and highly encouraged for Contemporary, Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop, and Musical Theatre Dance Programs.

The 2015 Audition Tour, launches in early January and will stop in Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago for Musical Theatre, Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop, and Contemporary Program auditions. Led by internationally-acclaimed dance artists in a master class format, no cuts are made during these auditions providing an excellent opportunity for students to take a professional class, gain audition experience, and learn more about The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Auditions are open to advanced dancers, ages 15 and up.

If applicants are unable to attend in person auditions, video auditions by YouTube or Vimeo are highly encouraged and are given the same consideration as in person auditions. Video auditions are required for Ballet Program applicants; in person auditions are not available for the Ballet Program.

Visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/audition-apply/audition-apply.php for application and audition details. Application deadline is February 13 for priority consideration.



Audition dates and locations for Contemporary, Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop, and Musical Theatre Dance Programs are listed below. A $15 cash fee is required for all audition participants.

January 10-11 – Miami, FL, New World School of the Arts

January 17-18 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios

February 7-8 – Los Angeles, CA, Loyola Marymount University

February 13-14 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios

February 28-29 – Chicago, IL, Lou Conte Dance Studio at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

March 21-22 – New York, NY, New York City Center Studios


*Musical Theatre Dance auditions cover multiple dance styles, including tap. Prepare two songs from published musical theatre works. Bring sheet music; accompanist provided.

Visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/audition-apply/audition.php for additional audition tour details.


Scholarships & Academic Credit

Scholarships and academic credit are available. Prospective students should visit

http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/ or call 413.243.9919 for more information regarding academic credit.

All applicants auditioning by video for the Ballet, Contemporary, Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop, or Musical Theatre Dance Programs are eligible for consideration of the Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence, which provides a full scholarship and $2,500 cash award.

Partial and full Jacob’s Pillow Scholarships are available for any dancer in need of financial assistance, made possible by The Fund for Jacob’s Pillow and annual donor support of The School. For scholarship details, visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/audition-apply/scholarships.php

Visit http://www.jacobspillow.org/education/school/ for additional program, audition, application, and scholarship details.


The School at Jacob’s Pillow is one of America’s most prestigious training centers for dance, encompassing four professional advancement programs in Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance. An integral part of Jacob’s Pillow, The School draws program participants and acclaimed artist faculty from all corners of the globe and is one of only five organizations in the United States selected for the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative award, a collaboration between the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, Inc. Through this initiative, the Pillow has been able to establish The Fund for Jacob’s Pillow School Endowment to ensure the availability of scholarships, world-class faculty, and free access to all Festival performances and events for all faculty and students. Alumni of The School include dance luminaries such as Nikolaj Hübbe, Meredith Monk, Mia Michaels, Robert Swinston, and So You Think You Can Dance winner Joshua Allen. Others appear in Dance Magazine's "25 To Watch," on Broadway, and in major companies worldwide. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org/education/school.


Jacob’s Pillow, celebrating its 83rd Festival in 2015, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest-running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and an extensive schedule of free public events. Through Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally-recognized program, Artist Educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; choreography commissions; and the annual $25,000 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award all support visionary dance artists and choreographers. Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob's Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive is a curated online video collection of dance highlights from 1936 to today. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

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