Contemporary Performance Ensemble
Program Director Milton Myers
Associate Program Director Francisco Martinez
July 1 – July 21 | At the Pillow
Choreographers Jennifer Archibald, Cindy Salgado for Crystal Pite Repertoire, and Jessica Wright for Studio Wayne McGregor | Artist Faculty Charles Scheland | Music Director John Levis | + Festival Artists | Read about the Artist Faculty
For 24 dancers who are at an early-career, company-ready, professional or advanced-level; all dancers must be at least age 16 on arrival day; no exceptions possible.
The Contemporary Performance Ensemble lives and works alongside the Festival’s international artist community where they discover artistic growth, multiple lenses into the creative language of dance, and a vision into the possibilities that exist within a dance career. The Ensemble will perform each week as part of the 92nd Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival before in-person and livestream audiences in landmark works and works in progress created on them by an esteemed Artist Faculty.
Daily ballet or contemporary technique classes, led alternately by Milton Myers or Francisco Martinez, begin each morning with live accompaniment. Afternoons and some evenings are dedicated to new work development or repertory rehearsals and are where dancers receive in-depth coaching into the multiple roles choreographers expect of them from the studio to the stage. Rigorous artistic practices, from daily class to artist expectations and preferences, build the skills and connections necessary to become an exceptional performer-collaborator with a distinct artistic voice in the field.
Weekly workshops by Festival Artists and the Ensemble’s Artist Faculty enable dancers to embody and investigate the movement languages and choreographic approaches of diverse dance makers as well as explore their own creativity. Seminars and discussion with Festival Artists, Artist Faculty, and School Alumni offer further insights into the expectations, professional standards, and industry practices sought by today’s choreographers and artistic directors.
The Ensemble performs weekly for Pillow audiences to strengthen performance skills and the artistry needed to meaningfully express choreographic intent. The first and second program weeks conclude with an informal Pause-in-the-Process sharing in the Perles Family Studio. On the final program day, the Ensemble appears on the iconic outdoor stage to share the range of works entrusted to them as performers. The in-person and livestream Pillow audience includes School-invited artistic directors of companies the Ensemble performers aspire to work with in the future.
All Performance Ensemble dancers:
- Attend Festival performances, scholar-led talks, and other events after the studio day. These take place at the Pillow’s two stage venues and across the Jacob’s Pillow grounds.
- Participate in career-building seminars and discussions led by Festival Artists, Artist Faculty, and Pillow Alumni. Career topics focus on wellness practices, contract negotiations and decisions, dance citizenship, and strategies to achieve the momentum needed to confidently and resiliently forge one’s own path in the field.
- View Pillow-available-only digital dance works connected to Artist Faculty, Festival Artists, or Ensemble curriculum.
- Complete program assignments which may include improvisational studies, collaborative movement invention, journal writing, and research in the Jacob’s Pillow Archives, where dancers also draw from a wealth of material that aligns with their personal dance interests.
- Building a career network from the seamless daily interactions at the Festival with peers, staff, Artist Faculty, artistic directors, company members, dance supporters, audiences, community members, and visitors. Dancers depart the program as members of the global and influential Jacob’s Pillow Alumni Network, with friendships that can last a lifetime.
The Jacob’s Pillow School Experience is a day-to-evening conservatory style curriculum, designed to instill the stamina, perseverance, entrepreneurial, and collaborative voracity required to live and work as a creative dance artist.
OPEN THE SECTIONS BELOW TO APPLY
2024 Contemporary Application Deadlines & Notifications
Jan 29 at 11:59pm EST | Priority Deadline | $45 processing fee
Feb 26 at 11:59pm EST | Regular Deadline | $50 processing fee
After Feb 26 at 11:59pm EST | Rolling Basis* | $55 processing fee
Acceptd offers financial assistance to applicants who meet Application Fee Waiver requirements. Application Fee Waivers are subject to approval by the Acceptd Support team and are granted based on proper documentation, when provided in advance of an application submission. Contact Acceptd Support when you set up your portal.
*Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Program Directors and School staff; with admittance status sent by email on a rolling basis if spaces are available.
Want free streaming access to a full-length performance from the 2023 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival?
Submit your application by the priority deadline, and you’ll receive free access to stream the Martha Graham Dance Company‘s 2023 performance on Jacob’s Pillow On Demand from January 8 through February 4, 2024.
- Clicking BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION takes you to Acceptd, our application portal where you will upload materials described below.
- Review the Application Guidelines located there in order to submit a complete and competitive application.
- Before submitting, review your work carefully, as only complete applications are considered for acceptance. Scholarship applications, if applicable, must be submitted with you program application. For more information, see below.
- If you need any assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Required Program Application Materials to Upload
1. Audition Video
Footage must be of clear viewing quality and preferably shot within three months, or as recent as possible, prior to submission. Media-enhanced, highly edited, or promotional type videos are not reviewed. Adjudicators prefer one concise video with a table of contents; multiple videos will be viewed if contents are properly identified. Use one of the following file types to successfully upload your video(s): MP4, M4V, AVI, FLV, MOV, WMV, MPG, MPEG, M2V, MKV, and WEBM.
- Verbal self-introduction, 1 minute maximum
- Your name and current affiliation
- Why this program is important for you this year
- What you are showing on your reel
- Anything you wish to share about your footage: title/choreographer(s) of performance footage, why footage date not as preferred, etc. Remember, we are looking at who you are as a dancer, not where you are dancing.
- Technique sampler, 5 minute maximum
- Center floor grand pliés, rond de jambe, extensions, and balances
- Across-the-floor progressions with turns, jumps, and leaps
- Performance sampler, 6 minute maximum
- In-studio footage is preferred over performance footage
- If performance or group footage, identify who is to be viewed
- Identify names of works and choreographers for
- 2-3 variations, improvisations, and/or repertory excerpts
- Excerpts should demonstrate a range of dynamics, levels, tempos, and styles
2. Written Statement 500 words or less
- Influences on your current dance work and artistic goals
- Career aspirations and experiences desired to reach them
- How you envision this program impacting your vision of yourself as an artist
- Headshot (required)
- Dance Shot (optional)
5. If 17 or younger, a Letter of Recommendation is required.
- You will be asked to list the name, title, phone, and email of a dance teacher or artist who has agreed to write a Letter of Recommendation. On receipt of an email from Acceptd on behalf of Jacob’s Pillow, he/she/they should be prepared to address the following:
- Technical and performance artistry
- Stamina to participate in rigorous, professional level classes, rehearsals, performances before the public, and evening responsibilities
- Ability to interact, and live, responsibly as a professional in a diverse artist community
- Be ready to list the name, title, phone, and email of a second dance artist or teacher who can speak about your work with staff if needed.
Participation Requirements and Policies
- Read Program Fees & Scholarships for program fees and all scholarship opportunities.
- The Scholarship Application is found within the Program Application.
- If you are a dependent, all financial information provided must be for your parent/guardian(s).
- U.S. and international dancers are eligible for scholarships.
- If you need any assistance, contact email@example.com.
- Read Participation Requirements & Policies for important eligibility details.
The School at Jacob’s Pillow is committed to assisting any dancer needing assistance with program tuition fees. Applications are reviewed need-blind. Scholarship applications are reviewed only following acceptance determinations. A Scholarship Application is located within the Program Application and should be completed at time of submission.
Meet Aaron Choate, Contemporary Program alum from 2019. Aaron joined us twice in the 2022 summer festival, as a dancer in Adam Weinert’s restaging of “Dance of the Ages,” by Ted Shawn and a second time as a new company member with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago:
When Contemporary Performance Ensemble dancers work with Jessica Wright from Studio Wayne McGregor in the studio, they will also have the opportunity to see a McGregor premiere created for the Pillow come to life on the stage during The Royal Ballet’s Pillow debut on 7/3-7/7!
2024 Workshops & Intensives | Around the Country
Jacob’s Pillow 360
If you have questions or need additional information, we are happy to help. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore our online Archive resource, Dance Interactive, to experience an invaluable tool able to support your growth as an artist.