Archive for December 21st, 2010

Jacob Sleeps in a Blanket of Snow

Dec. 21st 2010

A very light dusting of snow is a wondrous natural occurrence.

Friday evening, I was in Becket, Massachusetts attending a very rare performance of 2 incredible dancers/choreographers: one from Burkina Faso, Africa.  The other from the United States.

Due to the generosity of the Executive Director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, these two special guest dancers refined and created work in solitude for a week, then unveiled their work-in-progress to an small invited group of Pillow patrons.   

We were treated to a performance where the two dancers moved with delicate synchronicity. Each motion complimented the aura of a stripped down Doris Duke Theater– technically moth-balled for the season.

Audience members of this special performance sat on folding chair. The negative space of the stark theater made the motion of the dancers, and the music they selected, reverberate throughout one’s soul. Magnificent dance has a way of touching one’s soul. I find artistic inspiration after experiencing  world-class dance.

The magic of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival is “The Pillow” is approachable. Not in terms of physical distance, yet from the standpoint of being able to interact with artists. After the performance, the Pillow’s Executive Director led a conversation with the dancers. After giving the dancers time to catch their breath and sip spring water, audience members joined the conversation. When the dialogue was over, we were privileged to mingle with the 2 gifted dancers/choreographers.

Try this at a Madonna concert. Would one be able to approach Barbara? I do not think so. The Jonas Brothers? They are SO yesterday.  Little Wayne? Na na.  Lady What’s-Her-Face who recently appeared in a dress made of raw meat? Keep your distance. I hear a fog horn belching, “Back away from the talent. Back away from the talent. The talent has left the building. Stand 1.8 miles away from the stage door.”

The Jacob’s Pillow facility was tucked into bed for winter. Yet, it opened for one winter’s night of dance. A fresh-fallen snow made me feel for the first time–winter truly arrived in New England. I felt proud to be a native New Englander.

For  those who have never attend a live dance performance, it is a transformational, visual experience. I urge you to check the Arts and Entertainment section of your local newspaper, or search on-line when dance companies are performing in your local or metropolitan areas.

This was not your, “And Kick. And Kick”  type of dance noted in a previous post. This was literature in motion. This dance had a language of its own.

Thank you to the “Pillow Family” for inviting me to an  inspiring winter’s night of dance.  From a distance, as I drove away on George Carter Road, I looked back  into my automobile’s  rear view mirror. I saw lights being turned off outside the theater where moments ago we were visually  taken to an ethereal place, transfixed in a rare moment in time.

Slumber softly Jacob. You are wrapped in a comforting blanket of fresh fallen Berkshire snow. Sleep in peace. Slumber in silence.

Brendan Ben Feeney

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