Jacob's Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA co-present world-renowned contemporary ballet ensemble Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal March 2-3 at MASS MoCA's Hunter Center for the Performing Arts. The Montréal-based dance company blends a variety of dance styles, influences, and music in three diverse works by prominent, international choreographers: Wen Wei Wang of Canada, Spain's Cayetano Soto, and Israeli-American dancemaker Barak Marshall. This co-presentation coincides with the final month of MASS MoCA's Oh, Canada exhibit, the largest survey of Canadian contemporary art ever produced outside of Canada.
Under the artistic direction of Louis Robitaille, the dancers of Ballets Jazz successfully bridge contemporary innovation with classical training and technique. With sleek, highly-skilled performers and a wide-ranging repertory, the company is known for its distinctive, theatrical style that engages a broad audience. Founded in 1973, Ballets Jazz is celebrating its 40th anniversary season. This engagement marks the company's first return visit to western Massachusetts since its appearance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in 2010.
Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Ella Baff comments, "It's a perfect match for the Pillow and MASS MoCA to bring a major dance company, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, to complement an unprecedented exhibit, Oh, Canada. I think audiences will be very excited to see dance and visual art from our neighbor to the north. And did I mention that the dancers are sensational?"
The program includes three diverse works by acclaimed international choreographers. Choreographer Wen Wei Wang was born in China and now resides and works in Canada. His high-voltage, provocative work, Night Box, combines contemporary ballet with street dance to express the love, loss, sensuality, and joy of urban nightlife. Michael Crabb of The National Post calls the work a "fascinating imaginary world of burgeoning manhood and confused desire...It's all brilliantly theatrical, in turns witty, poignant." Set to a score by composer Philip Glass, Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto's powerful duet Zero In On creates a fresh take on the traditional pas de deux form and "subverts beauty to convey something else" (Rebecca Ritzel of The Washington Post). Harry, a work by Israeli-born, Los Angeles-based choreographer Barak Marshall, concludes the program. This theatrical, energetic take on the complexities of human dynamics and conflict features an eclectic score ranging from Israeli folk songs to Balkan Beatbox to The Andrews Sisters. Marshall served as house choreographer for Batsheva Dance Ensemble in Israel from 1999 to 2001. His company made its U.S. debut at Jacob's Pillow with his full-evening MONGER at the 2010 Festival.