Inside the Pillow Lab: Shamel Pitts | TRIBE


Inside the Pillow Lab captures works in process by artists during their fall COVID-compliant residencies. The Pillow Lab, the Pillow’s year-round center for research and development, provides artists the crucial space and time in development, research, and technical stages of choreography-driven projects. This film is deeply meaningful to us. It shares the final footage captured within the Doris Duke Theatre before it was destroyed by fire. The TRIBE collaborators were directly affected by this tragedy, and their response to this unforeseen turn of events makes this film an especially moving experience. Shamel Pitts is a performance artist, choreographer, conceptual artist, dancer, spoken word artist, and teacher. During his residency, Pitts will develop the second piece in his RED series, "Touch of RED." An intensely personal duet performed by Pitts with Tushrik Fredericks, "Touch of RED" addresses the power of vulnerability and offers its dancers, two Black men, space to soften. As Pitts and Fredericks meet in a performance space akin to a gladiator’s arena, heat between them builds, not from aggression but rather from a healing, electrifying effeminacy. TRIBE is a New York City-based arts collective dedicated to creating, developing, and sharing multidisciplinary art projects and inspired by the afro-futuristic movement. Artistic Director Shamel Pitts is a Guggenheim Fellow (2020), NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow (2019), and Princess Grace Award winner (2018). Born in Brooklyn, Pitts studied dance at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, The Ailey School, and The Juilliard School before beginning his dance career in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. He went on to dance with the Batsheva Dance Company for seven years, under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. Pitts was the choreographer for the play Help by poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, directed by Taibi Magar at The Shed in New York. TRIBE is a 92Y Harkness Dance Center Artist In Residence for the 2020-2021 season. Your support brings artists together again. Please support the Pillow Lab and other Jacob's Pillow programs at or text "PILLOW" to 51555. CHOREOGRAPHER: Shamel Pitts COLLABORATORS: Tushrik Fredericks Taylor Antisdel Joshua Antoine Jeroboam Bozeman Sivan Jacobovitz Ashley Pierre-Louis Raymond Pinto Elizabeth Schmuhl REHEARSAL FOOTAGE: Touch Of RED MUSIC: Sivan Jacobovitz FILMING: Taylor Antisdel Produced by Nel Shelby of Nel Shelby Productions Edited by Caroline Haidet Graphic Design by Benjamin Richards Lead support for the 2020-21 Pillow Lab is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With Additional Support from: The Barr Foundation, Deborah & Charles Adelman, Arison Arts Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Christopher Jones & Deb McAlister, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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