I drive the winding ascent to the bucolic grounds of Jacob’s Pillow on opening day of the longest-running dance festival in the United States. The historic farmstead in the foothills of the Massachusetts Berkshire Mountains was purchased in 1930 by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn. Today it is abuzz with activity gearing up for its 90th anniversary season and gala. The Pillow’s artistic and executive director Pamela Tatge gives me a rundown of what has been accomplished in the 90 years since Ted Shawn and his all-male company began holding “Tea Lecture Demonstrations” in 1933─the beginning of what was to evolve into the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The farm, initially purchased to serve as an artistic retreat, has remained true to that ideal while enlarging its mission to include supporting dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Photograph by Filip Van Roe