Inside the Pillow Lab: Larissa Velez-Jackson


For this project, "Yackez Love For A New World Paradigm", Larissa returns to directing and choreographing Yackez, her collaboration with her husband, musical director Jon Velez-Jackson. This work redefines family-friendly entertainment with an inclusive performance installation of live acoustic healing instruments, original digital-based sound, and living sculpture by Yackez. This project also highlights a new direction of Yackez, where emphasis is placed upon telling their story of healing and changed perspectives by way of their experience of illness and disability. The immersive environment is meant for the audience to experience the show as they wish as sculptural elements—like their foam mascot, Yacky—come alive. About Yackez Yackez, a.k.a. the world’s most lovable art-pop duo, is the multimedia collaboration of Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson. As Culturebot wrote of the duo, they are “so beloved and so natural in their campy stage antics they seem to defy what it means to perform absurdity at all times.” Jon is a songwriter, writer, and full-time journalist. Larissa (LVJ) is a New York-based choreographer, movement educator, and multi-platform artist. LVJ is a Boricua-Italian-American originally from Newark, New Jersey, and an ongoing cancer survivor, committed to the healing potential of art and body/mind practice. LVJ is an older adult fitness specialist who has incorporated older non-dancers in their own and Yackez’s intergenerational projects. LVJ was nominated for a 2016 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and received a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant to Artists Award. INSIDE THE PILLOW LAB Larissa Velez-Jackson RESIDENCY DATES March 27 - April 5, 2023 APPEARING IN FILM Director/Lead Choreographer: Larissa Velez-Jackson Musical Director: Jon Velez-Jackson Musicians: Yackez (Jon and Larissa Velez-Jackson) Performance and Choreography: Malcolm-x Betts, Mary Read, Shizu Homma Production Manager: LD DeArmon MUSIC BY Yackez (Jon and Larissa Velez-Jackson) FILMING Erica Spizz NEL SHELBY PRODUCTIONS: Nel Shelby, Producer Mason Chapello, Editor Benjamin Richards, Graphic Animation Sonia Bartolomeo, Project Manager The 2022-2023 PILLOW LAB RECEIVES LEADERSHIP SUPPORT FROM: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation © 2022 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.

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