Started by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn in the 1930’s, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival is America’s longest-running dance festival, has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.
Jacob’s Pillow Farm, named after a large, pillow shaped rock on the property of this rural Massachusetts acreage (the zig zag road leading to the farm was referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder” so … ), was purchased by Ted Shawn in 1931 as a retreat for the first US, male dance company. Ted Shawn hoped to help expand the role of men in modern dance and ended up not only doing so but also establishing a far greater appreciation and awareness of modern dance in the US in general.
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It has been a wonderful theater season in the Berkshires. Last year, we didn‘t go to the theater as much as we would have liked. We have been determined to see the best that is being offered this summer season. The first thing we saw was at Shakespeare & Company. The performance was of “The Ladies Man”, a French farce. It is a funny, convoluted story packed with smart dialogue and lots of physical comedy. Shakespeare & Company is very adept at pulling off this style of play. The production reminds me of a cross between Marx Brothers and Noel Coward. It runs through August 31st.
Our next treat was a Barrington Stage. Straight from a long run on Broadway, “The 25th Annual Spelling Bee” was a masterful performance. Years ago, we were treated to this show in workshop form as it developed. The Berkshires is its first stop on a regional tour. It is a very fun musical. We will be going to see “The Violet Hour” tomorrow night at Barrington Stage.
We have also seen a variety of interesting pieces at The Berkshire Theater Festival, including “Candida”,” Pageant Play” and the thought provoking “The Book Club Play”. You can check out the other plays the Berkshire Theater Festival will show for the summer at their website: http://www.berkshiretheatre.org/.