Three years feels too long since my last visit to Jacob’s Pillow. Dance Interactive is how I’ve been getting my Pillow fix lately. The website provides a tremendous opportunity for educating students and encouraging appreciation for dance on a global level. Drawing from the extensive Jacob Pillow Archives, it is a collection you won’t find elsewhere online.
Dance Advantage contributor, Roger Lee reflects on Black History Month, focusing in particular on a time when dance, along with the rest of America, was segregated. Giving a brief history of ballet dancer and pioneer, Arthur Mitchell, Roger expresses the inspiration that Mitchell and other trailblazers have provided for young black dancers like himself.
“Yes, it’s kind of like Tap. No, it’s not like Riverdance. Clogging is every dance – a dance form that includes everything from Irish step dancing to hip hop and everything in between. Cloggers perform choreography to anything from “Uncle Penn” by Ricky Skaggs to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” It is a dance form that defines who I was, who I am, and who I always will be.”
I feel very honored that Mr. Taylor took the time to answer a few questions about his life and work in an email interview. Paul Taylor is one of the most prominent and influential choreographers of our time. Yet, in the late 1940′s he was studying painting and swimming on scholarship at Syracuse University when amidst a series of seemingly unrelated dance experiences he was struck by a revelation or, as he describes it in his autobiography Private Domain a “flash of recognition… an unignorable hunch” that he was to become a dancer.
My First Ballet Collection is a great choice for those wishing to nurture enthusiasm for ballet among children of all ages. Younger children will enjoy being introduced to colorful characters and beautiful dancing. Older children will benefit from the opportunity to sample a mélange of ballet specimens.
I had the opportunity in college to observe Merce in action with his company of dancers during a company class several years ago. At probably about 80 years old, he had difficulty walking and would instruct the dancers from a chair, indicating movements and instruction with his hands and only a few words.
The lobby of your studio is a great place for waiting dancers and families to learn a bit more about dance, its history, and its artists. Picture books are a great way to introduce your dancers and perhaps inspire them to learn more and dig deeper into the lives and legacies of important figures in dance.