The venerable Jacob’s Pillow dance festival will celebrate its 85th birthday in 2017, making it the country’s longest-running international dance festival. As usual, Jacob’s Pillow gives equal weight to different dance styles (presenting everything from hip hop to Bharatnatyam over the course of the summer), and that ethos extends to its ballet programming. Classical and contemporary companies will visit throughout the summer, showcasing both traditional and innovative choreography. Additionally, this year’s festival includes 11 companies led by female directors.
The opening gala on June 17 includes New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns in collaboration with Company Wang Ramierz, a hip-hop duo. While it’s hard to imagine what this might look like, Mearns has been diving into the unknown lately, so it’s sure to include her signature level of commitment.
Miami City Ballet visits from June 21–25, dancing the type of work the company does best: George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, along with other works to be announced. The Washington Ballet performs from August 23–27, returning to the Pillow for the first time since 1980. The company, under Julie Kent’s new leadership, will dance Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas, among other works.
In between these two preeminent companies are several ballet-adjacent troupes. Portland’s NW Dance Project brings its slippery contemporary moves and commitment to international choreographers to its Pillow premiere from June 28–July 2. New York’s Ballet Hispanico will perform a Pillow-commissioned work, Línea Recta, by in-demand choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, along with other works during its July 26–30. Lastly, New York’s Jessica Lang Dance will appear in its own Pillow-commissioned premiere by Lang, along with Thousand Yard Stare and the east coast premiere of Lyric Pieces. Lang has made serious headway into the classical ballet world, recently choreographing for American Ballet Theatre and Pacific Northwest Ballet which premiered her ballet Her Door to the Sky at the Pillow in 2016.
For a full list of performances and dates, click here.