Jacob's Pillow Dance announces the conclusion of an artistically and fiscally successful Festival, complete with record-breaking attendance numbers and increased ticketed income. Executive Director Ella Baff maintained her continued commitment to presenting work that challenges and excites audiences, presenting diverse dance artists, world premieres, U.S. debuts, live music, and exclusive programs from around the globe. Fifty-three dance companies and more than 400 dance artists from Australia, Canada, the Republic of Georgia, India, Israel, Thailand, Spain, Sweden, and across the United States participated in the 78th season. This year, Jacob's Pillow hosted more than 89,000 free and ticketed visitor experiences, the highest visitor experience numbers in Pillow history.
Strong international programming led to strong box office numbers. The Pillow met its established ticketed income goal for 2010, coming in more than ten percent over the total ticketed income for 2009.
"Jacob's Pillow is a cultural destination that attracts visitors from across the country and around the world," comments Ella Baff, Executive Director of Jacob's Pillow. "Strong attendance means we are able to help contribute to the Berkshire region's visibility and economy. I hope our good outcome this season bodes well for the future. We continue to negotiate a difficult economic environment, especially given our intimate theaters and our commitment to free programs and events. We depend on contributions from people who appreciate the Pillow and believe that art is even more important during challenging times."
As part of its Audience Engagement programming, carrying out its mission to engage and deepen public appreciation and support for dance, the Pillow presented more than 200 performances, events, exhibits, and talks that were free and open to the public. The popular Inside/Out free outdoor performance series drew more than 17,700 visitors, marking the highest attendance numbers in Inside/Out history and a nineteen percent increase from 2009 Inside/Out attendance. Attendance numbers also increased for the Pillow's other free offerings including open rehearsals, the new "Let's Dance!" community event on July 4th, and the popular PillowTalk and pre- and post-show talk series.
In addition to increased attendance numbers at nearly all events and performances, the Pillow successfully completed a capital campaign to "Save the Inside/Out Stage," raising the necessary funds to rebuild the outdoor performance space and make improvements to the surrounding area. In response to a $100,000 public fundraising goal, the general public gave generously in excess of $150,000. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2011 and the grand re-opening of the new Inside/Out stage will take place in June of next year. For more information on the Save the Stage campaign click here. (http://jacobspillow.org/about/press/)
A diversity of dance styles were presented this season including an opening week of classical and contemporary ballet by Nina Ananiashvili and the State Ballet of Georgia and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble; the Pillow's first-ever presentation of Thai dance by Pichet Klunchun and his company; the U.S. premiere of the dance-theatre work MONGER by Israeli choreographer Barak Marshall; and the Pillow debuts of the all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and Australian contemporary artist Lucy Guerin.
The Pillow's free events were equally varied. PillowTalks by esteemed artists, public figures, authors, filmmakers, and scholars featured Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, legendary photographer Lois Greenfield, filmmaker Elliot Caplan, Pulitzer Prize winning author and cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and many others. Among the new exhibitions was Pilates at the Pillow, with previously-unseen photos and footage of fitness guru Joseph Pilates teaching at Jacob's Pillow more than 60 years ago. Free performance highlights included the contemporary company led by Czech choreographer Dušan Týnek, called "marvelous" and "an undoubted talent" by The New York Times; Rennie Harris RHAW (Rennie Harris Awe-inspiring Works), a youth hip-hop ensemble; alumnus of The School at Jacob's Pillow Avi Scher & Dancers, featuring New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder and soloist Savannah Lowery; and Maya de Silva's ¡Flamenco Revolución!.
National and international journalists took note of this expansive range of programming, as well as the high caliber of work presented. The New Yorker stated "informal, intimate, and surrounded by nature, Jacob's Pillow, in Becket, Mass., is an ideal place to watch dance" and The Boston Globe commented "the grand dame of U.S. dance festivals always offers a provocative mix of traditional, experimental, and ethnic dance from around the world."
This season marked the fourth annual presentation of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award which includes a $25,000 cash gift presented to an outstanding artist or choreographer, made possible by a generous anonymous donor. In June, legendary choreographer and Tony Award-winning director of FELA! Bill T. Jones was honored with the Award and accepted it at the Season Opening Gala, and a season-long exhibition devoted to Arnie Zane's photos of Jones was mounted as a tribute to this year's recipient.