BECKET, Mass. - Jacob’s Pillow is hosting audiences and artists for their annual Summer Dance Festival. This year, they’re welcoming international companies for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“'21, we were outdoors socially distant. Last summer, we were indoors masked," artistic director Pamela Tatge said. "And now we're back to hopefully normal and audiences are going to return. You know, it's it's going to be a lot for the performing arts to rebuild audiences post-pandemic, but we're feeling so optimistic.”

What You Need To Know

  • Jacob's Pillow is a dance centre, school and performance space located in Becket

  • Their 2023 dance festival is running June 28 to August 27

  • International companies are returning to the festival this year for the first time since the start of the pandemic

  • The first performance of the festival featured "Onyx" by Kyle Marshall Choreography

In the dance festival’s 91st year, Tatge said it’s great to be “welcoming the world” back.

“The work that we do here at the Pillow spans from tap and street dance all the way to classical ballet and everything in between," Tatge said. "And I think that the fact that we are back, we are back here in person after all of these years of isolation is really, really exciting.”

“There is no place like Jacob's Pillow," director of preservation Norton Owen said. "There is really this is the only place of its kind that has been in the same spot for all these years.”

Owen said the exhibit on display in the archives building highlights the wide range of companies who have come from far away to perform for audiences in Jacob’s Pillow's intimite performance venues.

“It's a great way to be up close and personal with the dancers and that physicality and the commitment that you feel from from the dancers, from all over the world who come here," Owen said. "That's what this exhibit that's all around us right now is all about. The international artists who come here, who have been coming here since the 1940s.”

Whether audiences catch a well-known company from around the world, or are introduced to a group for the first time, Jacob’s Pillow plans to bring people together through the art of dance from now until August 27.

“Dance is just a remarkable art form," Owen said. "There are also likewise so many companies who are coming that people will not have heard of. Actually, those are the ones that I look forward to the most, because those have the most opportunity for discovery, for finding something that you never knew existed and being excited by that.”

“We need the power of dance," Tatge said. "We need to see the hope and possibility of what humans can do. When we see people dance on stage, we connect with ourselves and with each other and what's good and what is possible. And I think everyone needs that kind of inspiration right now.”