In a small town in Massachusetts you can find amazing dance performances, challenging dance workshops and an arts community that would rival any large city. Becket, Ma is home to Jacob’s Pillow, a yearly dance festival that takes place from June 20 to August 26 this year and features performances as well as workshops, classes and community programs to share dance with dancers of all ages and abilities.
Jacob’s Pillow was founded by Ted Shawn and has been running regularly since 1933. The mission of the Pillow is to “support dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation and to engage and deepen public appreciation and support for dance”. With events, performances and classes running all summer there is sure to be something for everyone.
This summer the festival features The Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and the Bebe Miller Dance Company among others. All are big names in the world of modern dance. Most shows feature a before or after talk with the artists where you can learn more about them, ask questions and hear about the life of a professional dancer.
Families and children are always welcome at the pillow. Community days are scheduled during the summer so that kids can try out free classes, try out some dance moves, watch outdoor performances and take home some free give-a-ways.
Visiting and performing artists work with dance students that are studying at the Pillow but they also offer master classes open to the public on Sundays. At a very affordable $14 per person you can take a class with a professional dancer. There are also morning classes offered each day that you can try out.
If you aren’t up for taking a class, the doors to the studios are always open and you can peek in and watch the students take class at any time. This is a great way to expose children to the art of dance and show them what a dance class can be like.
The facilities at Jacob’s Pillow are both classy and rural at the same time. The facility was actually a farm at one time and the rustic buildings and rolling hills with flowers and gardens are quite beautiful. At the same time their dance studios and the performance stages are not to be beat. Great theaters with good seating for all make watching the concerts a joy. They have eating facilities as well offering dinner, dessert, ice cream, coffee and more. You are also welcome to bring your blanket and picnic on the lawn.
If you get to the Pillow early enough you can spend some time in the Archives – a collection of dance history books, documents, exhibits and video tapes. Anyone remotely interested in dance will find themselves easily overwhelmed by the amount of dance history available in one location.
Becket is located in Western Massachusetts and is a scenic drive from most parts of New England. You can easily spend a day at Jacob’s Pillow and experience many aspects of the dance world. More information can be found on the website at http://www.jacobspillow.org