Dance Interactive Launches Today

You can view a snippet from Ted Shawn's Kinetic Molpai on Dance Interacative; photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Archives
by karen Krolak

As part of Against the Odds: Stories of Adaptation, Translation, and Survival,  we have discussed how challenging it can be to preserve choreography.  At our SPORKS, we have examined how dances get altered by how a performer ages or how a new dancer approaches a piece. In our newest pieces, Adumbrate (Part 1 & 2), Monkeyhouse delves into how students become living legacies. But as SPORK participants point out, that process can be quite similar to the children's game, telephone.  I keep hearing people repeat a variation of "So how can audience members gain a better sense of dance history without a time machine?"

Photo by Ruth David. Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Until today, the only way to gain access to historical footage of most dance companies would be to travel to a few select libraries or dance festivals to view their archives. Thanks to Norton Owen and the innovative staff at Jacob's Pillow, however, you can now view a stunning array of footage from the last 80 years online. So I encourage you to skip over to Dance Interactive and poke around. As a Jacob's Pillow alum, I was able to meander through the site during its Beta testing and I can assure you that it is chock full of tasty morsels. For starters I highly recommend checking out Bill Irwin, Pearl Primus, and Erick Hawkins. This is an amazing resource for teachers, students, choreographers and audience members. Is it any wonder that Barack Obama recently bestowed a National Medal of Arts on Jacob's  Pillow?

(Psst...Don't worry if you aren't feeling ambitious enough to explore on your own. On April 8th and 15th, we will be projecting the website in the Springstep's atrium so you can view some of these artists as you prepare for Monkeyhouse's performance. )

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