David Dorfman and his company of skilled dancers bring their newest work, the dynamic Prophets of Funk, to the Doris Duke Theatre, August 17-21. Inspired by the vitality and revelry of the 1970s, this lively engagement is driven by the popular funk music of Sly and the Family Stone. Set in the spirit of Sly's music and philosophy, the work centers around the music's themes of love and celebrations, along with the struggles and hopes that reside in the lives of everyday people. Delivered with humor and heart by Dorfman's cast of phenomenal dancers, Prophets of Funk "[keeps] Dorfman fans salivating for more" (Eileen Elizabeth, iDANZ Critix Corner).
"David has really pulled it off this time. Prophets of Funk is a seriously entertaining show with phenomenal dancing that welcomes the entire audience to the party," comments Ella Baff, Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director.
Prophets of Funk displays Dorfman's "exuberant, gorgeous, and delightfully oddball style" (The Boston Globe) with an energetic, rock star-like opening featuring the full company ensemble. Dressed in 70s-style costumes complete with afro wigs and platform shoes, dancers move in unison and break off into various duets, solos, and jam dances full of interactive choreography. Dancers show a "playful, athletic physicality" (Chris Dohse, Dance Magazine) by talking to and teaching one another, alternatively supporting each others' movements. Quieter, more serious choreography is interspersed with high-energy sections, adding a powerful poignancy to the work. Dorfman displays "a delicate whimsy spun out through movement that is often chaotically original," says Anne Tobias of Dance Magazine. This exuberant work includes the songs "Turn Me Loose," "I Want to Take You Higher," "Love City," "Dance to the Music," and others.
Founded in 1985 by Artistic Director David Dorfman, David Dorfman Dance has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Great Britain, Europe, and most recently in St. Petersburg and Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and Cracow, Poland. Collectively, Dorfman and the company's dancers have been honored with eight Bessie Awards. Since 2007, the company has been in residence at Connecticut College.
David Dorfman, the recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, has been honored with four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, an American Choreographer's Award, a Bessie Award for Dance and Performance for David Dorfman Dance's community-based project Familiar Movements (The Family Project), the Mid-Career Award from the Martha Hill Fund for Dance in 2007, and the first Paul Taylor Fellowship from the Yard. Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times once stated, "One of the great pleasures...over the past decade or so has been seeing the growth of David Dorfman from accomplished to inspired modern-dance choreographer."
Dorfman's long history with the Pillow began in 1987 when he performed with Susan Marshall & Company as a part of the Inside/Out performance series. David Dorfman Dance made its Inside/Out debut in 1993, in addition to developing works during Creative Development Residencies (CDR) in 1993 and 1995 (see additional CDR information below). The company later performed in the Doris Duke Theatre in 1997 as well as participating in the Inside/Out performance series the same year. Dorfman also collaborated on the Seven Deadly Sins project at Jacob's Pillow in 2001.
The Creative Development Residency Program is part of Jacob's Pillow's core mission to support artists and their development. The program serves as a signature of the Pillow's artistic point of view and underscores its commitment to expand horizons, both of choreographers and audiences. During Creative Development Residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio space, and access to the Archives and other Pillow resources. In the quiet off-season atmosphere of Jacob's Pillow, the residencies are rare opportunities for artists to focus on the creative process without distraction. Each Creative Development Residency concludes with an invitation-only work-in-progress showing, during which artists receive valuable creative feedback from audience members.
Dancer and choreographer Kyle Abraham will perform with David Dorfman Dance in addition to performing in an upcoming Pillow exclusive collaborative engagement with contemporary choreographer Camille A. Brown in the Doris Duke Theatre August 24-28.
Related Event: In a free PillowTalk on Thursday, August 18 at 5pm, David Dorfman joins humanities scholar and cultural critic David Kyuman Kim to discuss the integration of Sly and the Family Stone's music into Prophets of Funk, centering on the work's insistence that hopes and aspirations persist amidst the funk of life.
Please see a complete listing of ticketed and free events below.
Performance and Ticket Information
Doris Duke Theatre
Wednesday, August 17 through Saturday, August 20 at 8:15pm
Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 at 2:15pm
Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob's Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered on the Doris Duke Theatre porch 30 minutes before every performance.
Tickets $34.50-37.50. Now on sale online at jacobspillow.org, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob's Pillow Box Office.
Under 35 Fridays: As part of the Pillow's young audience initiative, $19 Under 35 tickets (for individuals 35 and younger) are available for the Friday evening performance of David Dorfman Dance. Limit two (2) per person, must be under 35 to purchase, and must show valid I.D. when tickets are picked up. Under 35 ticket holders will also receive a Blue Q bonus bag.
Box Office hours:
Monday through Thursday 10am-6pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 12pm-5:30pm.
Pillow Members receive exclusive benefits. To become a Member call 413.243.9919 x125. Jacob's Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob's Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped-accessible.
Free Inside/Out Performance - Zehnder Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Wednesday, August 17, 6:15pm
Sarah Zehnder presents Travel by Foot, inspired by a loved one's battle with cancer, in which one dancer is always lifted off the ground by others. Defining a Scar incorporates fierce athleticism with unique partnering to explore the power of women.
Free PillowTalk Discussion - Deconstructing Prophets of Funk
Thursday, August 18, 5pm
Humanities scholar and cultural critic David Kyuman Kim joins his collaborator, choreographer David Dorfman, to decode their new work set to the music of Sly and the Family Stone. Discussion will center on this dance's insistence that hopes and aspirations persist amidst the funk of life.
Free Inside/Out Performance - Dorrance Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Thursday, August 18, 6:15pm
Hoofer Michelle Dorrance, an "untamable, tomboyish force of nature" (The New York Times), presents a petite suite, a work in four parts that ranges from large, full-bodied movement to intricate tap footwork, and a cast of characters both poignant and humorous.
Free Inside/Out Performance - Lucky Plush
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Friday, August 19, 6:15pm
Artistic Director Julia Rhodes, one of Dance Magazine's "25 To Watch" in 2010, presents Habituation, which uses everyday movement to question originality and influence, and Memory Mash, a romp through dance history via funny, cartoon-like movement.
Free PillowTalk - Celebrating Jess Meeker
Saturday, August 20, 4pm
The centennial year of composer/accompanist Jess Meeker (1911-1997) provides a fitting moment to remember one of the Pillow's most vibrant personalities. With a Pillow career spanning nearly 65 years, Meeker will be celebrated in anecdotes and excerpts from dances he created with Ted Shawn.
Free Inside/Out Performance - The School at Jacob's Pillow: Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance
Marcia & Seymour Simon Performance Space
Saturday, August 20, 6:15pm
In their final week of study at the Pillow, dancers perform repertory by veteran Broadway artist Bill Hastings (A Chorus Line, Cabaret) and Program Director Chet Walker (co-conceiver of Fosse).
Other Activities at Jacob's Pillow
Open Tuesdays-Sundays, noon through final curtain
This informal library and reading room allows impromptu visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow's computer catalog, or peruse Permanent Collections of Pillow programs and photographs. Pillow Interactive, the popular touch-screen kiosk, provides instant access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s, and a preview of the Dance Heritage Coalition's new Secure Media Network features videos from other archives throughout the country.
Free Guided Tours
Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30pm
During the Festival, free guided tours of the 163-acre campus leave from the Welcome Center and offer visitors a casual, informative look at the extensive history that occurred on the Jacob's Pillow grounds. Everyone is invited to see what makes Jacob's Pillow a National Historic Landmark. Plus, patrons can pick up a self-guided tour map anytime to explore the grounds on their own.
Classes and Observations
Patrons are also welcome to visit The School at Jacob's Pillow and observe renowned artist faculty working with emerging professional dancers, either on a drop-in basis or pre-arranged for groups larger than four. Dance and Pilates classes are offered to the public Mondays through Fridays at 8am and are open to all experience levels (class fee required). Master classes with artists of the Doris Duke Theatre are offered every Sunday at 10am for intermediate to advanced dancers (class fee required). Master classes are also open for public observation, without charge. For Community Class information call 413.243.9919.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the historic Tea Garden, where Ted Shawn's Men Dancers welcomed the first Pillow audiences in the 1930s. They can also picnic on the grounds or stroll through several ecological zones on the Wetlands Trail, created as part of the Pillow's responsible stewardship of its rural environment.
Jacob's Pillow offers many dining options including the Pillow Café, a full-service open air restaurant on the Great Lawn; the Pillow Pub offering casual fare, ready-to-go picnics, and a full bar; the Coffee & Ice Cream Bar, and catering services for groups and events.
The Pillow Store
Visitors can shop onsite for logo items, clothes, gifts, books, and music; all proceeds benefit Jacob's Pillow.
Morning Classes offered in Pilates, Ballet, Modern, Arab-American Fusion, and Tai Chi. Mondays through Fridays at 8am. All experience levels, 16 and older, fees apply. Ruth St. Denis Studio. Visit jacobspillow.org or call the Education Hotline at 413.243.9919 x5.
Weekly Master Classes are led by Festival artists on Sundays from 10-11:30am for intermediate and advanced dancers, $15 fee applies. ($10/class for dance teachers with appropriate I.D.) Pre-registration required. The public may observe for free. For Community Class information call 413.243.9919.
Families Dance Together at the Pillow, an intergenerational class led by Pillow artist-educator Jeff Bliss, is offered for children ages 5-18 and family members of all ages on Thursdays 5-6pm, July 14, 21, and 28, as well as August 4, 11, and 18. Children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is a Jacob's Pillow/Becket Arts Center collaboration. Fee information and registration at the Becket Arts Center of the Hilltowns: 413.623.6635.
Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 79th anniversary in 2011, is a National Historic Landmark and home to America's longest running international dance festival. The Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 300 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various departments of arts administration and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and video. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and more than 200 free public events. Through Jacob's Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally-recognized program, artist-educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming existing curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Choreography commissions; Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; and the annual $25,000 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award all support visionary choreographers. Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob's Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and mobile social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive, an online video collection of dance highlights from 1937 through 2010, is a new resource with a curated selection of videos by artists who have performed at Jacob's Pillow over the past seven decades. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government. Jacob's Pillow is the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award.
As of July 2, 2011, support for Jacob's Pillow has been provided by:
Foundations: Arch W. Shaw Foundation; Asian Cultural Council; The Barrington Foundation; Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation through the Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence and The Central Berkshire Fund; Bessie
Pappas Charitable Foundation; Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Frances Alexander Family Fund; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Harkness Foundation for Dance; Jerome Robbins Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Korean Cultural Service, New York; The Kresge Foundation; Leading for the Future Initiative, a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Marshall Frankel Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; The National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NDP is supported by lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust); Neal Rantoul Foundation; The O'Neill Foundation; Princeton University; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Québec Delegation to New England; RoBert Wood Johnson Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Spingold Foundation, Inc.; The Thompson Family Foundation; and The T. Backer Fund. Government: The Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a Program of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Mass Humanities, State-based Affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; and Pittsfield Cultural Council. Corporate: ALEX®; Berkshire Bank; Clark and Green; Cranwell; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; LEGO Children's Fund; The Pilgrim Inn; Super 8 Motel Lee; and Wheatleigh. Funding for Inside/Out has been provided, in part, by Greylock Federal Credit Union, The Legacy Banks Foundation, and The TD Charitable Foundation. Endowment: The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Surdna Foundation; and Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Jacob's Pillow is also grateful to its Members and Business Alliance for their ongoing support.