BODYTRAFFIC to share wares at Jacob’s Pillow

Some hugely happy news, we’ve learned that L.A.’s hard-dancing, home-grown repertory dance troupe, BODYTRAFFIC, now in its fifth year, will perform next summer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The Pillow, whose tony hilltop campus in the Berkshires houses two theaters, a summer dance program, picnicking grounds and a wonderful archives, has hosted a huge swathe of American dance history over its 80-year lifespan. Founded by dance pioneer Ted Shawn, it’s a sacred place. It’s modern dance’s Mecca.

The West L.A.-based contemporary dance company, the labor of love of its co-directors Tina Berkett and Lillian Barbeito, has been on a steep upward climb into nosebleed territory — last season tromping the mighty floorboards of the Joyce Theater in Manhattan, next season booked at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. There’s a booking, as well, at ODC in San Francisco looming for next year.

The company is now in high gear, adding to its distinctive roster of commissioned choreography with new works by Zoe Scofield, (Zoe Juniper/Seattle), Sidra Bell, Kyle Abraham and Victor Quijada (RUBBERBANDance Group).

Kyle Abraham, Pittsburgh’s most prolific dancing son since Gene Kelly, just debuted “Another Night” made for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tonight! Kyle will create a new work on the Body’ites early next year, here in L.A.

BODYTRAFFIC will appear at the Pillow’s second stage, the Doris Duke, a honey of a black-box theater, in a weekly performance cycle that starts on Wednesday evening and runs through Sunday matinee, a total of six performances. The Pillow draws an international audience of dance lovers who clamor to see the best of best, as curated by Executive and Artistic Director Ella Baff.

Says Baff, in an email: “I’m very pleased that the company is making its Pillow debut, especially since Tina performed with us some years ago with the then relatively unknown Aszure Barton company. I’m also pleased that we are presenting a company from LA — and that good work is coming over the mountain!”

“I performed at the Pillow, twice,” says Berkett. “When I started BODYTRAFFIC, I thought maybe one day we’ll get to the Pillow and I’ll know we’ll have made it. It’s always been my end-all-be-all dream for the company.”

Says Barbeito: “I was studying at the Boston Ballet one summer. We went to the Pillow to see Paul Taylor Dance Company. I was exposed to modern dance — I saw Esplanade, and that was it for me. To be going back there with BODYTRAFFIC is such a dream.”

Congratulations, BODYTRAFFIC!


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