Three Berkshire County schools participate annually in Jacob's Pillow 
Curriculum in MotionĀ® residencies. The residency process involves pre-residency planning, a strong co-teaching relationship between artist and classroom teacher, regular post-class check-ins, and a written and oral end-of-residency showing and reflections between teachers and students. Boys and girls are equally engaged at all grade levels, and teachers find that the process helps students to learn and retain complex concepts.

Example:  Guided by their high school Algebra teacher and a Pillow artist-teacher, students are creating movement phrases about a key idea in factoring -- the process of FOIL (first, outer, inner, last) in multiplying pairs of numbers in variables. They work in quartets, each group developing a way to demonstrate the four-part idea. As they work, it becomes apparent they do not understand the idea and are unable to choreograph the pattern. The teacher assigns evening homework and the next day, students re-group to solve the problem. For the artist-teacher, the breaking down of complex material into parts emerges as a key choreographic idea. Because factoring occurs both backwards and forwards, the artist-teacher introduces students to retrograding movement and then has each group incorporate excerpts of the original and retrograded phrase into each quartet's complex "dance equation." As the residency concludes, the teacher is excited to notate one of the newly created dance equations, so she can use it to teach factoring next year.

Example:  A collaboration between a Pillow artist and an English as a Second Language (ESL) class during fall 2001 provided a way to process current events. Students examined the events of September 11, 2001, considered how they related to valued American freedoms and how those freedoms attract others to this country. Misconception, judgment and variations in interpretation were resources for developing movement that contrasted and compared the September 11th event with events from their countries of origin. Students compared these events with the time period and urgency for freedom that led to the writing of the Bill of Rights. The final showing of the work was accompanied by ESL students' written reflections, formed into a text score by the artist.

  • Becket Washington School (Becket, MA)
  • Conte Community School (Pittsfield, MA)
  • Monument Mountain Regional High School (Great Barrington, MA)

Time:  In the winter for Becket Washington School; spring for Conte Community School; fall and spring for Monument Mountain Regional High School.

Open to:  Elementary and high school students and teachers, all grade levels.

Activity:  Jacob's Pillow contributes an annual dance residency (two weeks for elementary level; four weeks for high school level) to its local area. Co-teaching by classroom teachers and the Pillow artist enable students to choreograph work using academic topics as source material. Meets state and national standards for both dance and subject areas.

School Residencies

"Jacobs Pillow is true to its name: it has always been a haven and a pillow for anyone who wanted to dance, whether as a student, aspirant or professional."
- Arthur Mitchell, Founder and Artistic Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem

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