As Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival finalizes programming for summer 2024, one engagement is guaranteed to be a highlight. July 3-7, the international festival in Becket will be dedicated to London’s world-renowned The Royal Ballet. The historic engagement marks the company’s first visit to Jacob’s Pillow, and it will be The Royal Ballet’s only appearance in the United States next year.
Based in London, The Royal Ballet was founded by Dame Ninette de Valois in 1931. (Coincidentally, that is the same year that Jacob’s Pillow founder, modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn, bought the rural farm in Becket that he developed into one of the world’s great centers of dance.) Since 1946, the ballet company has been in residence at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and is known for an extensive repertory that includes 19th-century classics, the legacies of founder choreographer Frederick Ashton and principal choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, as well as contemporary works by artistic associate Christopher Wheeldon and current resident choreographer Wayne McGregor.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jacob’s Pillow audiences,” says Pamela Tatge, the festival’s executive and artistic director. “That they’re bringing classical work from the repertoire, Ashton, MacMillan, Wheeldon, a world premiere by McGregor, his first work at the Pillow, and the U.S. premiere of American choreographer Pam Tanowitz’s ‘Secret Things,’ and taking over the campus is an extraordinary celebration – it’s a wonderful series of events to look forward to.”
In a festival first, The Royal Ballet will present daily back-to-back performances at two different venues on the campus, with one program on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage and another in the indoor Ted Shawn Theatre.
Featured principal dancers during the run will include Natalia Osipova, Matthew Ball, Mayara Magri, Marcelino Sambé, Anna Rose O’Sullivan, and Boston-born Sarah Lamb, who trained with Boston Ballet and was a principal dancer there before joining The Royal Ballet in 2004. Tickets are expected to go on sale in the spring.
Karen Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.