Jacob’s Pillow Announces 2023 Dance Festival

Rachel Coll

91st season celebrates a wide range of international artists,

with music from Burt Bacharach to David Bowie, a hip hop festival,

indoor and outdoor performances, and family-friendly events 

Member Pre-Sale begins March 6; general on-sale begins April 17 

February 15, 2023 (BECKET, Mass.)—Following a milestone anniversary year, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival will celebrate its 91st season this summer. This year’s eclectic program marks the return of international programming post-pandemic, celebrates artists for whom the Pillow has been an artistic home, and features many dance companies in their Pillow debuts.

Running June 28 through August 27, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2023 will feature nine weeks of performances in the Ted Shawn Theatre and on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, as well as special events, parties, and pop up performances in Berkshire County. This season will offer the largest breadth of international performers since 2019, as well as multiple performances with live music, and dance styles ranging from hip hop and street dance to ballet and contemporary, with family-friendly opportunities for every audience member to experience something fresh and exciting. 

The complete program for Festival 2023, including the schedule of performances on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, workshops, classes, PillowTalks, and community events will be announced in April. Visit jacobspillow.org/festival for the most up-to-date programming.

“We invite you to journey to Western Massachusetts to experience dance in a setting that’s like nowhere else in the world, and to celebrate the astonishing ways a body can move, with an array of U.S. and international companies brought together to perform their best work at this hallowed ground for dance,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director, Pamela Tatge. “We also encourage you to visit us online through Jacob’s Pillow on Demand (watch.jacobspillow.org), where you can access the extraordinary artistry for which the Pillow is known from the comfort of your own home.”

The Festival is curated by Tatge and Associate Curators Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas. The Pillow’s International Advisor is Cathy Levy.

Companies performing in the Ted Shawn Theatre will include Mark Morris Dance Group, Dutch National Ballet, Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Dorrance Dance, Oona Doherty – OD Works, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Compagnie Käfig. Companies with multiple performances on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage will include AXIS Dance Company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and Tulsa Ballet. The festival will also include “Hip Hop Across the Pillow,” a special festival within the festival that commemorates the 50th anniversary of hip hop, featuring numerous artists on both stages and throughout the Pillow campus.

Artists performing in shorter engagements on the Henry J. Leir Stage will include, Brinae Ali, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, Ananya Dance Theatre, The Hood Lockers, Ice Dance International, KR3TS, Kyle Marshall, Mythili Prakash, The Masterz, Nefer Global Movement, Oyu Oro Afro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble, Querencia Dance Company, Séan Curran Company & Darrah Carr Dance, SOLE Defined, Taiwan’s Resident Island Dance Theater, Te Ao Mana, Versa-Style Dance Company, waheedworks, and performances by a regional gathering of Indigenous dance artists, with more artists on the Leir Stage to be announced. The outdoor stage will also feature performance ensembles from The School at Jacob’s Pillow summer programs in Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, and Tap. Additionally, performances centered on the legacy of Katherine Dunham as well as a tribute to the late Chet Walker will feature The School’s alumni of performers and choreographers.

Jacob’s Pillow will hold its Season Opening Gala on Saturday, June 24, which will feature live performances and a presentation of the 2023 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to this year’s recipient, to be announced this spring. Community Day will also return this year, providing free, all-ages daytime performances by regional dance artists, as well as activities around the Pillow’s campus, on Friday, August 18.

Jacob’s Pillow continues to be a home for presentations of world-premiere works, and this year will feature several as-yet-untitled world premieres on both the Ted Shawn Theatre and Henry J. Leir stages. Artists and companies making their Jacob’s Pillow debuts this season include Dutch National Ballet, AXIS Dance Company, Oona Doherty, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Tulsa Ballet, and more.

As Jacob’s Pillow continues to strengthen its role in serving artists year-round, the Festival will also feature several works developed at the Pillow Lab, a residency program now in its sixth year. Those performances include Rokafella and Kwikstep’s commissioned work for Hip Hop Across the Pillow, and works by Ananya Dance Theatre and Mythili Prakash.

Parties at Jacob’s Pillow this summer will be anchored by three special gatherings: the return of Pillow Pride and the All Styles Dance Battle, as well as a themed dance party with the artists of Martha Graham Dance Company. Pillow Pride, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities featuring The Dragon Sisters, will be held on Saturday, July 8. The All Styles Dance Battle will be held on the evening of Friday, August 4, as part of this summer’s “Hip Hop Across the Pillow” week. The dance party with Martha Graham Dance Company will be held on the evening of Saturday, August 19. Tickets to parties will be available beginning March 6 as part of Member Pre-Sale.

Ticketed performances and parties will be enriched by talks, exhibitions, workshops, and the return of the free On the Road performance series to towns around Berkshire County, with details to be announced later this year. Digital offerings will include PillowTalk highlights and live streams of several performances.

The Pillow will also host Dancerly Intelligences, a takeover of its Sommers Studio for artists sharing their work at the intersection of dance and technology. Audiences will have the opportunity to view demonstrations and speak informally with artists about their work. Artists to be announced.

Member Pre-Sale begins Monday, March 6, with tiered access available to Jacob’s Pillow Members based on membership level. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on April 17. To learn more about the Membership program at Jacob’s Pillow, visit jacobspillow.org/membership.

Masking and vaccination are not currently required for visitors to Jacob’s Pillow’s summer festival but are strongly encouraged. Required masking or vaccination may be requested for specific events or areas with advance notice as appropriate. Health and safety policies are subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic and government mandates evolve. For the most up-to-date info on our health and safety policies, please visit jacobspillow.org/health.

Founded by American modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn in 1933, Jacob’s Pillow is home to the longest-running dance festival in the United States. Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, a National Medal of Arts recipient, and a year-round center for dance research and development.

Festival 2023 Performance Schedule

Artist dates and descriptions follow; additional programming will be announced this spring. Programs and casts are subject to change without notice. Select Festival artist descriptions include links to supplemental video clips within Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, featuring past Jacob’s Pillow performances. The Season Opening Gala kicks off the Festival on June 24, 2023.

Mark Morris Dance Group

June 28-July 2, Ted Shawn Theatre

A longtime Pillow favorite, Mark Morris Dance Group will open Festival 2023 with the evening-length work The Look of Love, an homage to the music of Burt Bacharach that had its world premiere in 2022 and which Fjord Review called “a breath of fresh, brilliant, joyous—and much needed—air.” A towering figure of popular music, Bacharach is known for his soaring melodies and unique orchestrations influenced by jazz, rock, and Brazilian music. The work features original choreography by Morris and new musical arrangements by Ethan Iverson, performed live by an ensemble of piano, trumpet, bass, and drums, with singer, actress, and Broadway star Marcy Harriell on lead vocals. 

Called “the Mozart of Modern Dance” for his musicality, devotion to music, and movement versatility, Mark Morris has distinguished himself as a prolific ballet, modern dance, and opera choreographer and director. He made his Pillow debut in 1982 while his company first appeared here in 1986 and has returned for more than twenty seasons since, amassing one of the most extensive Pillow performance records of any artist. 

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

Mark Morris Dance Group in Sport, 2019:


Mark Morris Dance Group in V, 2011:


Dutch National Ballet

July 5-9, Ted Shawn Theatre

In a historic debut, Dutch National Ballet—one of the world’s most critically acclaimed ballet companies—comes to Jacob’s Pillow for the first time. Works will include: Variations for Two Couples, choreographed by Hans Van Manen; Two & Only (Wubkje Kuindersma); The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (William Forsythe); Grand Pas Classique (Victor Gsovsky); and Five Tangos (Hans van Manen, music by Astor Piazzolla). The performance will feature the company’s newest member, Bolshoi Ballet star Olga Smirnova, who joined Dutch National Ballet after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Over the past 60 years, Dutch National Ballet, the only ballet company in the Netherlands, has evolved into one of the world’s foremost ballet companies. With a unique and wide repertoire, a tradition of innovation, and around 80 dancers from all over the world, the company plays a leading role in Dutch cultural life and beyond.

Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart

July 12-16, Ted Shawn Theatre

Based in Germany, Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart is a young, dynamic company of versatile artists known for their thrilling performances of contemporary choreography from around the world. Founded by dancer, choreographer, and musician Eric Gauthier, who originally hails from Canada, the company is returning to the Pillow to celebrate its 15th Anniversary.

The program will include works by Gauthier, Sharon Eyal (co-founder, co-artistic director and choreographer of L-E-V Dance Company), and international choreographers Nacho Duato and Hofesh Shechter. The performance will culminate in Minus 16 by Ohad Naharin (former Artistic Director, now House Choreographer of Batsheva), a wildly popular work not seen at the Pillow for 20 years.

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart in Cantata, 2016:


Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart in Malasangre, 2015:


Dorrance Dance

July 19-23, Ted Shawn Theatre

Based in New York City, crowd-pleasing Pillow favorite Dorrance Dance was founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Michelle Dorrance—recipient of the 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award—with the goal to engage with audiences on a musical and emotional level while sharing the complex history and powerful legacy of tap dance. This summer, the company will be performing SOUNDspace, one of the early works that brought Michelle Dorrance to prominence, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, including never-before-seen elements created specifically for the Ted Shawn Theatre. The program will also feature 45th & 8th, a new work featuring the original compositions of “breathtaking vocalist” Aaron Marcellus (The New York Times).

With a long history of performances at the Pillow, Dorrance Dance’s work challenges the audience’s preconceptions of tap dance. Dorrance Dance received a Bessie Award in 2011 for the inaugural performances of Remembering Jimmy and Three to One and in 2015 for The Blues Project, a collaboration with co-creators Dormeshia, Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant, and musician Toshi Reagon alongside her band BIGLovely, which premiered at the Pillow in 2013. The company has performed to critical acclaim in many venues across the U.S. including The Joyce Theater, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and Vail Dance Festival—and internationally in Canada, Spain, Germany, and Hong Kong. Michelle Dorrance breaks the mold of tap dance by experimenting with the emotional range of the form “while exposing its true nature: that it is music” (The New York Times).

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

Dorrance Dance featuring Josette Wiggan in Ways to Now in 2021:


Dorrance Dance in All Good Things Come to an End in 2018:


Dorrance Dance in ETM: Double Down in 2016:


AXIS Dance Company

July 14-16, Henry J. Leir Stage

Led by Artistic Director Nadia Adame and Managing Director Danae Rees, AXIS Dance Company is one of the nation’s most acclaimed ensembles of disabled and non-disabled performers. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the company has toured to over 100 cities in the U.S. over the last 35 years, as well as Israel-Palestine, the United Kingdom, Europe, United Arab Emirates, and Russia. They will make their Jacob’s Pillow debut this summer performing Desiderata by Asun Noales, Flutter by Robin Dekkers, and a third piece to be announced.

The New York Times wrote, “AXIS’s work instructs the viewer in how to appreciate it, and the lesson is delivered with cogent force.” In addition to their extensive touring and performances, AXIS provides integrated dance education and outreach programs, building paths to dance education for disabled and non-disabled people of all ages and experiences. 

Oona Doherty – OD Works 

July 26-30, Ted Shawn Theatre

A rapidly rising star in contemporary dance, Oona Doherty will be making her Jacob’s Pillow debut this summer as the first headlining artist from Northern Ireland to perform at the festival. Based in Belfast and now touring internationally, Doherty—a choreographer, dancer, collaborator, and visual artist—was the recipient of the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 2021. Her work has been performed at Tate Britain, in a music video for indie artist Jamie xx, and in a piece co-choreographed for the Ballet de Marseille.

Doherty is not afraid to ask pointed questions of art and society. She is known for her “gritty realism, visceral movement style and fearless attitude to confronting controversial topics” (Frieze)—a combination that has left an indelible impression on audiences. This summer, Doherty will bring Pillow audiences the U.S. premiere of Navy Blue, her largest work yet, driven by a thrilling in-your-face mash-up of ensemble dance, spoken word poetry, political candor, and eclectic music. This work begins with a unison dance set to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff and deconstructs as the music shifts to the pulsing sounds of Jamie xx. Navy Blue premiered at Kampnagel in Hamburg, Germany last summer, and was also performed at Sadler’s Wells in London. The company will also perform Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus. 

Hip Hop Across the Pillow

August 2-6, Ted Shawn Theatre

This summer, Jacob’s Pillow celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip hop—the diverse culture and art movement catalyzed in the Bronx in August 1973—with a “festival within the Festival.” The one-of-a-kind program in the Ted Shawn Theatre will feature dance artists including Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater, which returns to the Pillow after 13 years. Noted for coining the terms “street dance theater” and “hip hop concert dance,” Harris has been celebrated as a pioneer of hip hop dance theater. The London Times called Harris “the Basquiat of the U.S. contemporary dance scene” who “has literally embodied the history of hip-hop dance.” The program will also feature the world premiere of two works commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow specifically for the Festival: a new duet by hip hop icons Rokafella and Kwikstep, and a work performed by the Ladies of Hip Hop created by Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist d. Sabela Grimes, made possible by the Joan B. Hunter New Work Commission.

This week of campus-wide excitement will also feature performances on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, an All Styles Dance Battle, and a PillowTalk celebrating the many culture-bearers of the form.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

August 9-13, Ted Shawn Theatre

For nearly three decades, New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet has been thrilling audiences around the globe with its full-throttle, high-intensity performances on five continents and in over 20 countries, committed to its mission of “bringing unity to the world one dance at a time.” 

The diverse and inclusive company reinvents ballet with a mix of methods, styles, and cultures that engages and delights. Founded by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, the company will make its Pillow debut this summer with a program that includes STAR DUST, a one-act tribute to the genre-bending innovation of rock star David Bowie that features many of Bowie’s iconic hit songs. The Los Angeles Times said the piece “highlights how well-matched Complexions is to the genre-hopping, categorization-defying Bowie.” Additional works to be announced.

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

Aug. 9-13, Henry J. Leir Stage

Making their Jacob’s Pillow debut this summer, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) is a 38-year-old jazz company from Calgary, Canada, dedicated to the rich traditions and boundless future of jazz dance. DJD is a crowd-pleasing favorite with a style that has been described as ‘music for the eyes.’ They are known for exceptional musicality and a rhythmic, percussive aesthetic, often performing with live music.

DJD dances in the spirit of jazz, recognizing themselves as guests in a form born out of Black American culture and the African American experience. Championing jazz in a time when not many dance companies are, the company was also featured in the documentary Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance.

Martha Graham Dance Company

Aug. 16-20, Ted Shawn Theatre

The Martha Graham Dance Company is a world leader in the ever-evolving art form of modern dance. Today, the company is embracing a fresh vision that showcases Graham masterworks alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. During its almost 100 years of history, the company has received acclaim from audiences and critics in over 50 countries. “These men and women easily embody the choreographer’s sense of dancers as angelic athletes,” said Robert Greskovic of The Wall Street Journal, while Marina Kennedy of Broadway World noted, “this is contemporary dance at its very best.”

At Jacob’s Pillow, the company will perform Cave of the Heart, a one-act ballet choreographed by Martha Graham in 1946 to music by Samuel Barber, featuring sets by Isamu Noguchi. Cave of the Heart retells the ancient Greek myth of Medea, a woman consumed by love and jealousy, and has remained a central piece in the company’s repertory. Additionally, the company will perform London-based choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s CAVE, the hit of its 2022 New York season, inspired by communal nightlife dancing and the Rave scene. Additional works to be announced.

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

Martha Graham Dance Company in “Prelude to Action” from Chronicle in 2019:


Martha Graham Dance Company in AXE in 2015:


Martha Graham Dance Company in Rust in 2013:


Compagnie Käfig

August 23-27, Ted Shawn Theatre

Acclaimed French hip hop artist Mourad Merzouki founded the Lyon-based Compagnie Käfig at the startling crossroads of modern and contemporary dance, circus, martial arts, video, live music, and hip hop. Named for the Arabic and German term for “cage,” this high-flying company is anything but tied down, pushing the boundaries of hip hop while never losing sight of its roots.

At Jacob’s Pillow, the company will perform their signature work Pixel, a wondrous merging of virtuosic dance and technology created by Merzouki in collaboration with Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne. Seen by audiences in more than 30 countries around the world, the show explodes into a 3D world of captivating digital light and video projections, which accompany dancers’ movements. The piece aims to strike a subtle balance between the real and the virtual world, and between energy and poetry, resulting in a performance infused with a multitude of art forms.

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

Compagnie Käfig in Correria in 2012:


Compagnie Käfig in AGWA in 2013:


Tulsa Ballet

August 23-27, Henry J. Leir Stage

Tulsa Ballet will make its Jacob’s Pillow debut this summer as the first company from Oklahoma to perform at the festival. Tulsa Ballet was founded by Moscelyne Larkin, one of five Native American ballet dancers termed the American Indian ballerinas of Oklahoma (all of whom boasted Pillow connections), who performed in and helped organize the Oklahoma Indian Ballerina Festival in 1957 and 1967. At Jacob’s Pillow this summer, Tulsa Ballet, under the direction of Marcello Angelini for the past 28 years, will perform Nicolo Fonte’s Divenire, Andrew McNicol’s Celestial Bodies, and the pas de deux from Katarzyna Kozielska’s Ode.

Tulsa Ballet was born out of a student troupe formed in 1956, one that that later expanded to be a national and international force, being named in 2007 The Official Cultural Ambassador for the state of Oklahoma. In June 2010, the established company made its debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which received accolades in The Washington Post and Dance Magazine. Tulsa Ballet has also performed all over Europe and Asia, earning rave reviews from the international press wherever it performed. The company’s repertory includes 19th-century classical ballet pieces, as well as the most celebrated works of the 20th century. Tulsa Ballet is keen on creating new works, and is committed to creating at least three new dances each season.


Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running international dance festival. It is with gratitude and humility that Jacob’s Pillow acknowledges that it rests on the ancestral homelands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok or Mohican people, who are the Indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today, their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all. Each Festival includes national and international dance companies and free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the field’s most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program. The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this award. The Pillow’s Executive and Artistic Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. www.jacobspillow.org.

MAJOR INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT FOR JACOB’S PILLOW IS GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY: Alphadyne Foundation, Arbella Insurance Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Arnhold Foundation, Barr Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. As of February 1, 2023.