Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet July 3-7

Launching 2013 Jacob's Pillow Programming

By: - Jun 22, 2013

Jacob’s Pillow presents Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in the historic Ted Shawn Theatre, July 3-7. These fiercely-talented performers present Tuplet by Nederlands Dans Theater’s Alexander Ekman; Grace Engine by 2011 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award winner and Artistic Director of Kidd Pivot, Crystal Pite; and Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren's wild Necessity, Again. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times calls Cedar Lake "the country's most innovative contemporary ballet troupe with an A-list repertoire, and an accent on creation that few companies worldwide can match.” 

New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was founded in 2003 by Nancy Laurie. Through its gifted troupe of 16 dancers and a remarkable, wide-ranging repertory, the company has distinguished itself as one of the chief forces in today’s contemporary dance scene. Cedar Lake works to support dance innovation and appreciation by commissioning the work of emerging choreographers that will also have popular appeal. The company is currently under the direction of ballet master Alexandra Damiani, acting as Interim Artistic Director.

Cedar Lake's current repertoire includes works by Regina van Berkel, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Andonis Foniadakis, JiÅ™í Kylián, and Hofesh Shechter. Future projects for the company include works by choreographers Julie Bour, Isreali choreographer Emanuel Gat, and Swedish dancer and choreographer Johan Inger.

Showcasing classical technique and modern atheleticism, the dancers of Cedar Lake come from a variety of backgrounds including The Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, Royal Danish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, River North Chicago Dance Company, Batsheva Ensemble, Boston Conservatory, Ballet BC, and American Dance Center. They hail from Korea, Romania, Brazil, Portugal, France, and the U.S. and have worked in film, television, and commercial dance as well as on the concert stage.


The range of works presented in this program evidences the dynamism of Cedar Lake’s repertory and versatility of its dancers.

Alexander Ekman’s Tuplet uses reflective scenic elements and video projections to compartmentalize the stage and compel the viewers’ focus. Set to lively jazz music, the blend of gestural and abstract movement engages the dancers’ full range of abilities from emotive to technical. Ekman is a Swedish choreographer in high demand on the European dance scene in recent years. His works are known for clever ideas, fast-paced choreography, and an abundance of humor. Future commissions include Norwegian National Ballet, Boston Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Nederlands Dans Theater, where he is currently an associate choreographer.

The dancers’ full breadth of skills are also exercised in Grace Engine, choreographed by Crystal Pite. Framed by inventive lighting design, Pite’s highly-stylized, sophisticated movement employs “the body itself as a cinematic device capable of jump cuts, flashbacks, and montage” (Choreographer’s notes).  Debra Levine of the Los Angeles Times describes the piece as “a moody work that looked ripped from film noir…” Pite is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot, and continues to create and perform in her own work. Her work and her company have been recognized with numerous awards and commissions, including the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2011.

In contrast, the program concludes with Jo Strømgren's spirited and theatrical Necessity, Again. Pairing text by French philosopher Jacques Derrida with songwriter Charles Aznavour’s ballads, Strømgren allows the viewer to create individualized associations by rejecting consistent narrative. Animated and, at times, humorous – this piece occurs in a heightened state of vitality. Strømgren’s work is regularly commissioned by ballet companies such as Wiener Staatsoper Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, Ballett Nürnberg, the Göteborg Ballet, the Norwegian National Ballet, and Ballet de l’Opéra du Rhin. In addition, he has created contemporary dance pieces for Danish Dance Theatre, Carte Blanche Dance Company, Cloud Gate Ensemble, ITDansa, abcdancecompany, Helsinki Dance Company, Iceland Dance Company, Bern Ballet, Bielefeld Tanztheater, and many others.


After an initial Inside/Out appearance in 2006,  Cedar Lake made its official Jacob’s Pillow debut in 2009 in the world premiere of half-Moroccan, half-Flemish choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Orbo Novo ("New World" in Latin). The piece was created specifically for the company and inspired by Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight about the experience of having a stroke. Both Cherkaoui and commissioned composer Szymon Brzoska participated in a PillowTalk to discuss their brand-new work.  Also, Grace Engine choreographer and artistic director of Kidd Pivot Crystal Pite was awarded the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2011. 


Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Ted Shawn Theatre

Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 6 at 8pm

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 at 2pm


  • Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe are offered on Sommerspace (behind Blake’s Barn) 30 minutes before every performance.
  • A Post-Show Talk with artistic personal from Cedar Lake and Pillow Scholar Maura Keefe will take place onstage on Friday, July 3, and will be filmed and posted online by Sunday, June 7.
  • Tickets $39-$75. Under 35 Friday Tickets are available by phone or in person for $19 on Friday, July 5 (ages 18–35), two per person, must show I.D. when picking up tickets.
  • Now on sale online at
  • Box Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10am–6pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10am–8pm, and Sunday 11am–5pm.
  • 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 theatres are handicapped-accessible.

, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office.


Shantala Shivalingappa

Doris Duke Theatre

Wednesday, July 3 – Saturday, July 6, 8:15pm

Saturday, July 6 & Sunday, July 7, 2:15pm

Born in India and raised in Paris, Shantala Shivalingappa "erases cultural boundaries with her lightness, wit, and musicality" (The New Yorker). She has worked with some of the greatest artists of our time, including choreographer and opera director Maurice Béjart, English theatre and film director Peter Brook, and the legendary dancemaker Pina Bausch. Joined by master musicians, her otherworldly movement merges with a symphony of intoxicating vocals, lilting flute, and virtuosic rhythms in a new work, Akasha, that originates in sound—a vibration or form of energy and measure. Shivalingappa’s vivid interpretations of the classical South Indian dance style, Kuchipudi, are steeped in expressive narrative, with flowing lines, nimble leaps, and percussive footwork. Tickets: $22–$38 



Inside/Out Performance: Art of Motion Dance Theatre

Wednesday, July 3 at 6:15pm

The Art of Motion Dance Theatre (AOMDT) is a repertory company performing original works by artistic directors Lynn Needle, Olivia Galgano, and guest artists. The multidisciplinary company features exotic handmade costumes conceived and constructed by visual and performing artist Annie Hickman. The company will premiere Heaven & Earth, a delight for the senses. The program pays homage to eastern and western aesthetics, resulting in a fresh vocabulary. The suite embodies the mysticism of the heavens and the glory of planet Earth. FREE

 Inside/Out Performance: Sayat Nova Dance Company

Thursday, July 4 at 6:15pm

The Sayat Nova Dance Company (SNDC) of Boston was formed in January 1986 as an independent, non-profit dance ensemble, under the direction of Apo Ashjian. The company takes its name from the famous 18th century troubadour, Sayat Nova, whose music and poetry captures the essence of the Armenian spirit. The SNDC mission is to preserve and promote the Armenian culture, primarily through the art of dance. Apo Ashjian has been active in Armenian dance for more than 40 years, studying dance in Armenia with renowned choreographers and ethnographers and receiving a diploma in Armenian dance choreography from the Khachatur Abovyan University. FREE

 PillowTalk: Beyoncé and Beyond

Friday, July 5 at 5pm

Since his summer as a Jacob's Pillow student, award-winning choreographer Jeffrey Page has enjoyed wide exposure on television and the concert stage including choreographing for the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and for Beyoncé music videos. Now he's back on faculty at the Pillow discussing it all. FREE

 Inside/Out Performance: Pasión y Arte Flamenco

Friday, July 5 at 6:15pm

Pasión y Arte Flamenco (PyA), founded in 2000 by Elba Hevia y Vaca, has created and self-produced five original, full-length, flamenco-based dance pieces. Drawing upon a mastery of flamenco along with other dance forms, mixed media, and experimentation in narrative and symbolic storytelling, PyA embraces the tensions between modern and traditional approaches. This all-female ensemble performs Cómplices, the first commissioned work by Flamenco artist Rosario Toledo, with original composition by Spanish Flamenco composer/guitarist Dani de Moron and Cuban-based composer/percussionist Francois Zayas. FREE

 PillowTalk: CN U TWEET REVUS?

Saturday, July 6 at 4pm

An examination of current online trends in responding to dance--whether via Twitter, online publications, or blogging--and how this differs from traditional dance reviewing, as interpreted by an expert panel. FREE

Inside/Out Performance: The School at Jacob's Pillow Movin' Commercial Program

Saturday, July 7 at 6:15pm

To conclude their study in the Movin' Commercial Program, dancers of The School at Jacob's Pillow present commercial dance variations, coached by program director Jeffrey Page. FREE

Exhibit: Christopher Duggan: Inside/Out

Doris Duke Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes pre-performance

As the Pillow's Festival Photographer since 2006, Christopher Duggan has now documented literally thousands of indelible dance moments. Focusing specifically on Inside/Out for an exhibit last summer at Saratoga's National Museum of Dance, these images are now coming home for the first time. Duggan's superb extra-large prints show off an incomparable setting in an unforgettable way. FREE

Exhibit: Jordan Matter: Dancers Among Us
Ted Shawn Theatre Lobby

Open 60 minutes pre-performance

By showing dancers in everyday surroundings, photographer Jordan Matter demonstrates just how extraordinary the human body can be. There's no photo manipulation here--no trampolines, no gimmicks, no tricks--which makes these images of roadside leaps and high kicks on the subway all the more remarkable. Including both recognizable dance figures and relative unknowns, this collection truly communicates the excitement of having dancers among us.

Photography Shooting Stars Exhibit

Blake’s Barn at Jacob’s Pillow

Open June 19 – Aug 25

Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 10pm, Tuesday and Sunday, noon to 6pm

To experience dance through the eyes of other dancers is a rare treat, and this exhibit encompasses uncommon sights and vantage points, photos taken by professional dancers, that will be totally new to most viewers. New York City Ballet star Wendy Whelan reveals what goes on in the dressing rooms of New York City Ballet while Miguel Anaya shares his backstage view from last season’s production From the Horse’s Mouth: The Men Dancers, Amber Star Merkens shows the backstage world of the Mark Morris Dance Group and both Francisco Graciano and Sean Patrick Mahoney chronicle the Paul Taylor Dance Company. FREE

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Archives

Blake’s Barn at Jacob’s Pillow

Open June 19 – Aug 25

Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 10pm, Tuesday and Sunday, noon to 6pm

This informal library and reading room allows Pillow 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 the Dance Heritage Coalition's new Secure Media Network features videos from other archives throughout the country.