A majority of the time, A Chance to Dance has taken place at a place called Jacob’s Pillow. For anyone involved or interested in dance, this may be a familiar place. However, for some viewers of the show (myself included), have probably not heard of it before. So I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the place where the magic is happening on A Chance to Dance.
Jacob’s Pillow is located in Becket, Massachusetts. It is a dance school and performance center. As we’ve heard on A Chance to Dance, to be able to dance at Jacob’s Pillow is something many dancers aspire to do. It has a deep history, starting back in 1790 when the Carter family settled there. Behind their farmhouse was a boulder that was shaped liked a pillow. There was a road that was at the bottom of a hill near the farm that looked like a ladder, so it was called Jacob’s ladder. The farm was eventually called “Jacob’s Pillow” “as a combination of the story of Jacob from the Book of Genesis, which tells of Jacob laying his head upon a rock and dreaming of a ladder to heaven and the farm’s proximity to the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ road,” according to Wikipedia (read more about the history of the farm at that link)
Over the years, many monumental “dance moments” occurred at Jacob’s Pillow, and in 2003 was a declared a national historical landmark by the federal government.
Jacob’s Pillow hosts many events throughout the year, including over 200 free events and over 80,000 visitors are cited as visiting each year. There are three main stages where performances take place.
There is also a dance school at Jacob’s Pillow, and include the following programs in the curriculum: Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary Traditions, Jazz and Musical Theater, and Choreographers’ Lab. The faculty members are also very well known.
It is a place with rich history and a bright future. As I read more about it, I can now see why the dancers were so excited to perform here. As Mikhail Baryshnikov, a Russian American dancer and actor, said, “There is no place quite like Jacob’s Pillow.”