The Art of Black Grace 3/5

At Sommers Studio: Jul 10 - Jul 13

Event Dates

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The Art of Black Grace 3/5

Created by Neil Ieremia

A Dance & Technology Event

Jacob’s Pillow explores the intersection of dance and technology this summer with immersive experiences for the whole family. The world premiere of The Art of Black Grace 3/5 combines dance, music, art, and video recordings that bring small groups of visitors face-to-face with the dancers of Black Grace, one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance companies. In the span of roughly 30 minutes, the seated audience will be introduced to the work of the company and then interact virtually with dancers who will teach them the choreography of Handgame, a dance with Samoan cultural roots that Black Grace has performed around the world, including at Jacob’s Pillow in 2005. 

While Handgame is high-energy and percussive—marked by clapping, stomping, and jumping—the dance uses simple movement patterns and rhythms, making it accessible for all ages to participate in, with no dance experience necessary. Although the dancers will appear via video, there is no live two-way stream, and participants are not recorded. Black Grace has had three previous engagements at Jacob’s Pillow: in 2004, 2005, and 2022.

This is a FREE and unticketed event—simply come to the doors of Sommers Studio. Staff will offer timed entry every 30 minutes, beginning at noon. Last entry is at 4:30pm.

Lead support for The Art of Black Grace is generously provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“How can dance companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint give audiences a dance experience without ever boarding a plane? How can companies use technology to create immersive experiences that bring audiences into dance in ways that are beyond in person experiences and have the capacity to engage large audiences outside of traditional venues?

New Zealand’s Black Grace and its Founding Artistic Director, Neil Ieremia, are asking these questions in this third out of five immersive experiences created in anticipation of the company’s 30th Anniversary in 2025. Jacob’s Pillow gave Black Grace its U.S. debut in 2004, and the company returned in 2005 and again in 2022 in honor of our 90th Anniversary, when they performed their signature work, Minoi. (You will see footage of that performance during this experience).

As Jacob’s Pillow thinks deeply about the ways technology can enhance and provide access to dance performance, we partnered with Black Grace to secure a grant from Creative New Zealand to support the world premiere you will experience today. Enjoy!”

– Pamela Tatge, Executive & Artistic Director of Jacob’s Pillow