Immersion in Dance
Working side by side with Festival artists, who are the most significant dance artists of our time, immerses dancers in a wide range of choreographic and performance approaches, traditions, and innovations. The result is deep artistic and personal growth.
The six day a week training schedule of technique classes, rehearsals, and coaching sessions demands stamina, perseverance, risk-taking, and creative collaboration. Sharing studio work with Festival audiences culminates each program week.
Three Festival stages host more than 150 performances by 50 companies from all over
the world, representing ballet, contemporary, dance-theatre, hip-hop, jazz, tap, and culturally-specific dance. All School participants have free access to these events as well as master classes, community dance classes, artist talks, book signings, film screenings, exhibits, tours, and open rehearsals. Dancers also gather in the Jacob's Pillow Archives to explore its rich collection of videos, historic films, photographs, and programs covering over a century of dance.
A Community of Artists
Living in a community with Festival artists, scholars, research fellows, interns, and staff fosters rich interactions and invaluable relationships for the future.
Major dance figures from around the world have been coming to the Pillow since the 1930s. Encounters with artistic directors, choreographers, critics, dance celebrities, scholars, and dedicated dance supporters abound. You might find yourself browsing in the bookstore beside Michelle Dorrance, having lunch with Andy Blankenbuehler, mingling with Carmen de Lavallade at a cast party, or chatting with Alonzo King after a Q&A session.
The School's student body is an international mix of professionals and pre-professionals, from Grand Prix finalists and Presidential Scholars in the Arts to dance company apprentices. After training in The School, dancers always have an artistic home here. Alumni return to visit and perform; 43 student alumni participated as choreographers, performers, faculty, and company or Festival staff during Festival 2014.
Jacob's Pillow is located in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, an international destination noted for its beautiful natural environment and world-class cultural institutions, including Tanglewood, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, MASS MoCA, Norman Rockwell Museum, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. New York City and Boston are both less than 3 hours away.
The 220-acre campus includes two theatres, an outdoor stage, five dance studios, exhibition galleries, the Archives, health office, food venues, a store, gardens, and a wetlands trail.
When Ted Shawn's students and company members lived at the Pillow in the 1930s, they built housing and studios, and maintained the property from roads to wells. Pillow residents embrace this spirit of responsibility today by helping care for the beauty, history, and integrity of the campus.
Dancers in The School live near artists, faculty, and staff in wood-framed cabins with archival photographs and mementos of famous dancers lining the walls. Three meals a day are provided in the Stone Dining Room, hand-built in 1935 by Ted Shawn's Men Dancers. Registered nurses assist with body maintenance and physician appointments, and Pillow drivers shuttle dancers to town as needed and fill requests for sundry supplies. A centrally located Campus Center provides a place to relax.
Life at the Pillow
"I'm not only making so many connections with major choreographers and dancers from all over the world, but am leaving the Pillow with a different outlook on being an artist and twenty-three friends that will last a lifetime."
- Kyle DuPree, 2010 Contemporary Program Participant