America(na) To Me (Excerpts)
In 1942, Jacob’s Pillow presented the very first concert in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Conceived as a showcase of American Folk Dances curated by Shawn, the program included square dances and Agnes de Mille’s “Hell on Wheels”, inaugurating the first theater in the United States designed for dance. As we celebrated the renovation of the Ted Shawn Theatre and the 90th anniversary of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Associate Curators Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas revisited the theme of that first program by inviting dance artists to reflect on what American identity means to them. “America(na) to Me” encapsulated the heart of the 90th Anniversary Season at Jacob’s Pillow, looking at the dance landscape and the world at large today. This world premiere event featured an expansive array of artists including Warwick Gombey Troupe, Jasmine Hearn, Nélida Tirado, Alexandra Tatarsky, and Pillow commissions performed by Dormeshia & Guests, Sara Mearns & Joshua Bergasse, and Mythili Prakash. Many of the works also included live music, including Mythili Prakash’s accompaniment by Sushma Somasekharan, Rajna Krishnan Swaminathan, Kasi Aysola, and Ganavya Doraiswamy. This presentation offered an ever-timely reflection on how dance engages questions of heritage, tradition, and belonging. "America(na) To Me" was filmed live during Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2022. Video by Nel Shelby Productions.