Chance to Dance Winner | Samuel Samways

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival is excited to announce the first ever Chance to Dance viewers’ choice contest winner Samuel Samways!

The Chance to Dance Contest was a viewer-selected online competition that allowed the public, peers, and fans of six selected artists to vote for their inclusion in the Inside/Out Performance Series for Festival 2017. The winner, Samuel Samways, will perform on July 21, 2017 as a part of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 85th Anniversary Season.


Samuel Samways is a Brazilian dancer and choreographer that takes inspiration on tradicional Brazilian, and latin, social dances for his works.

Samuel danced in many importante festivals and theatres in Brazil, and abroad, such as Plataforma Rio 2012, Festival O Boticário na Dança, Circuito Cultural Paulista, Festival Internacional De Dança do Recife, Holland Dance Fest and Joyce Theatre NYC. Samuel danced and choreographed for various companies, including Mimulus dance company.

He currently is a resident and dance researcher at the art institution Cefart. He develops a unique technique in pair dancing and contemporary social dance – based on extreme connection and oneness between dancers – a hybrid dance that fuses the techniques of Brazilian and latin social dances, Ballroom, contact improv and contemporary dance. He has giving courses and workshops of this technique in Brazil and abroad. In this excerpt, he dances with Bianca Sanches.

Thank you to all our finalists:

Breton Tyner-Bryan is a dancer, choreographer, director, and producer of Breton Follies an evening length cabaret production. As a theatrical storyteller creating character driven works for stage, films, site specific experiences, and commercial projects, her work is comedic, in your face, celebratory, sensual, and elegant. Drawing from her ballet background and many years spent performing with dance theater companies, recent commissions include Pantsuit Power-Hillary Clinton Campaign in collaboration with Madonna, New York Fashion Week, The Foundry LIC, Marymount Manhattan College, and NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

View Breton Follies video submission here.

DNA is a Ballroom Duet from New York, N.Y. comprised of Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina. We are 2-Time US National Ballroom Champions and 2-Time World Championship Finalists. Denys is a graduate of the Juilliard school in dance and Antonina a graduate of the New York Film Academy in New York, NY. Our mission is to bring the art of ballroom dance to the people in its most refined, artistic, and innovative form.

View DNA’s video submission here.

J9Dance is company focused on storytelling through street fusion and the education of street styles. We have begun and continue to explore the looming questions: “What is Street Jazz?” “Is it only commercial?” and including (but not limited to) “How do specific genres of street based styles and commercial styles harmonize?” The company’s goal is to show these styles on different platforms and in various types of performances, to elevate the artistry of it. We fuse styles not in the way of a gimmick, but to educate the audience past that of a backup dancer and into the eyes of a street dancer. J9dance aims to invite the dancer and non-dancer alike to join in on social dance and encourages the audience to gather the information we are offering and digest the deep history and culture behind the dance. We are also encouraging our audience to look towards the future of using digital technology as a means to transcend boundaries and bridge gaps, NOT to exploit them.

View J9Dance’s video submission here.

“Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, based worldwide, Alina Sokulska is a jazz dancer, choreographer, performer and instructor. Having a professional dance training since childhood, Alina has been experimenting on many dance styles until she met social culture of Jazz dancing, focusing on authentic jazz, lindy hop, blues, bebop, UK jazz, tap dance, afro and afro-latin dance. She set up her company Jazz Workshop with Alina Sokulska in 2013, cherishing the concept of dance expression to Jazz Music of any style, elaborating on her own dance language researching rare jazz dance forms of the 20th century through African-American Body Movement. Comprehending Jazz dance as a cultural and anthropological phenomenon, and influenced by great jazz, bebop, afro and latin dance masters, Alina’s main artistic search would be an answer to the question: “What would modern and contemporary jazz Music look like embodied in Movement? How could the jazz dance be innovated departing from the Tradition?”

View Alina Sokulska’s video submission here.

Barkha Dance Company is a classical Kathak dance company dedicated to the preservation of Indian art and culture through performance, teaching, and artistic collaboration. The artistic heritage of Kathak dance is preserved yet constantly evolving in a contemporary society. The company is committed to maintaining the purity of movement and form while exploring both traditional and non-traditional contexts.

View Barkha Dance Company’s video submission here.