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Complexions Contemporary Ballet makes Jacob’s Pillow debut

Complexions Contemporary Ballet will perform 'STAR DUST' in Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2023. Photo by Sharen Bradford, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet will perform 'STAR DUST' in Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2023. Photo by Sharen Bradford, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Week 7 of the 2023 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival welcomes the dynamic New York-based company Complexions Contemporary Ballet, making its Pillow debut this summer. Complexions will take the stage in the Ted Shawn Theatre from August 9-13. On the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, Canadian company Decidedly Jazz Danceworks will also make its Pillow debut, performing from August 9-13.

In addition to these performances is a multi-day residency in the Sommers Studio for artists exploring the intersection of dance and technology. From August 8-10, audiences can view demonstrations and speak with the artists on their work. The residency will conclude with a free PillowTalk on Sunday afternoon, led by the artists. A free community workshop in Pittsfield will take place on Thursday, led by Joanne Baker, Artistic Outreach Associate with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. This all-levels workshop will incorporate rhythm, community and musical connection. 

Dutch architect Francine Houben will participate in a free PillowTalk on Saturday in Blake’s Barn, discussing the design of the reimagined Doris Duke Theatre, anticipated to open in 2025. On Saturday afternoon, Adam Weinert will lead a free public tour of Jacob’s Garden, departing from the Welcome Center. And on Sunday morning, Complexions will hold a workshop for intermediate/advanced dancers ages 12+ in the company’s signature technique NIQUE, a style integrating modern fundamentals and ballet vocabulary, developed by Artistic Directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. 

“It’s thrilling to be hosting the Pillow debuts of two major companies this week,” said Pamela Tatge, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob’s Pillow. ”New York City-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet has been touring the country and the world for nearly three decades with their high-intensity evolution of ballet set to classical and popular music, while Decidedly Jazz Danceworks is coming to us all the way from Calgary, Canada, and is one of the best and most entertaining jazz dance companies performing today with a spectacular live band. Both companies are not to be missed!”

Founded by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, Complexions will make its Pillow debut with a program featuring STAR DUST, a one-act tribute to the genre-bending innovation of rock star David Bowie that features many of Bowie’s iconic hit songs. Other works in the program include an excerpt from Hissy Fits, a piece set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and an excerpt from SNATCHED BACK from the EDGES, Rhoden’s time capsule of 2020 angers, worries and desires to connect. 

Also making its Pillow debut in Week 7, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, from Calgary, Canada, is a crowd-pleasing favorite with a style that has been described as “music for the eyes.” The company is known for exceptional musicality and a rhythmic, percussive aesthetic. The full company comes to the Pillow for its week-long engagement on the Leir Stage, accompanied by the six-piece Rubim de Toledo Ensemble with vocalist Karimah.

Alongside these performances is a week-long residency in the Sommers Studio, where artists demonstrate their work integrating dance and technology. Artists include Catie Cuan, a pioneer in the nascent field of ‘choreorobotics’; Grisha Coleman, a time-based artist working in performance and experiential media; and Andrew Schneider, an OBIE award-winning, Drama Desk nominated performer, writer and interactive-electronics artist. Sydney Skybetter, who researches the intersection of dance and emergent technologies and has consulted with projects in human computer interfaces, will act as the consulting facilitator of the residency.   

For tickets and more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

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