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PeiJu Chien-Pott performs Lamentation, one of the pieces that will be performed by the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Clark Art institute on Sunday, Aug. 18. (Photo © Hibbard Nash Photography)

Berkshires Beat: The Clark, Jacob's Pillow Team Up for Special Dance Performance

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Martha Graham at the Clark

The Clark Art Institute hosts a special pop-up performance by the acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company on its Williamstown campus on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. The free event is co-hosted in a cultural collaboration with Jacob's Pillow.

The day's program includes some of Martha Graham’s most revered and iconic choreography, along with a creative project titled "The 19 Poses."  Dancers from the company will perform in dialogue with the Clark's landscape and galleries in various locations in and around the Clark’s reflecting pool. Three works choreographed by company founder Martha Graham highlight the afternoon:

* Diversion of Angels
(1948) was once described by Graham as representing three aspects of love – a couple in red embodies romantic love and "the ecstasy of the contraction"; a couple in white represents mature love; and a couple in yellow symbolizes a flirtatious and adolescent love.

* Lamentation (1930) is performed almost entirely from a seated position, with the dancer encased in a tube of purple jersey. The diagonals and tensions formed by the dancer’s body struggling within the material create a moving sculpture, a portrait that presents the very essence of grief. The figure in this dance is neither human nor animal, neither male nor female: it is grief itself.

* Ekstasis (1933) is thought to be the 37th creation by Graham. In a 1980 interview, she once explained that the genesis of this dance came from a thrusting gesture that led her to explore "a cycle of distortion" that she found deeply meaningful. Virginie Mécène reimagined this version of "Ekstasis" in 2017 based on sparse documentation of the original solo.

Rounding out their presentation at the Clark, members of the Company will present "The 19 Poses" (2019), a structured improvisation arranged by Artistic Director Janet Eilber and the dancers. "The 19 Poses" for the 19th Amendment project was created in celebration of the upcoming 2020 centenary of the adoption of the 19th amendment granting American women the right to vote. Beginning at 11 a.m., members of the Company will assist Clark visitors in learning "The 19 Poses" on the Fernández Terrace of the Clark Center.  Visitors will have the opportunity to photograph themselves in the poses, post them on social media and use them creatively as a memento.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket to provide outdoor seating. In the event of inclement weather, the performance will move indoors.


'Barrington Stage Experience'

Barrington Stage Company has opened "The Barrington Stage Experience," a free interactive lobby exhibit that allows visitors to view highlights of BSC's 25 year journey from humble beginnings in Sheffield, to the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage on Union Street, to its state-of-the-art administrative offices at 122 North St. Visitors can go behind the scenes, learn how a production is put together and view a vantage point into BSC's award-winning education programs and community engagement in Pittsfield.

Located at the Wolfson Theatre Center in the Rhoda and Morris Levitt Lobby, the Barrington Stage Experience includes BSC's history, highlights of productions and interviews with associate artists, directors, playwrights, community leaders and more. Made possible by the generous support of Mill Town Capital, the Barrington Stage Experience is free with daily hours of operation from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.


'Dance with Me' sculpture

Renowned sculptor Andrew DeVries has brought to life a dramatic new work of art that will serve to launch the Madeline Cantarella Culpo Award at Albany Berkshire Ballet's 50th Anniversary gala celebration on Aug. 17.  

"I owe my whole career to the ballet world. It was by drawing dancers and being in that milieu that I learned what it truly takes to be an artist," said DeVries of the new creation, called "Dance with Me." "I'm honored that ABB thought of my work as an award for Madeline – her dedication to her art form is akin to my own dedication to sculpture."

Albany Berkshire Ballet's new award is named for its founder and longtime artistic director, Madeline Cantarella Culpo, a champion of dance performance and education in the Northeast for more than 65 years. It is being established to recognize “outstanding achievements and contributions to the art of dance," and will be presented to a new recipient annually.

"The Golden Age of Dance" gala celebration will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Berkshire Plaza Hotel at 1 West St. Tickets range from $25 to $100; call 413-445-5382 or send an email for more information.


Learn to play hockey

Northern Berkshire Youth Hockey League once again will host the Boston Bruins Academy Learn to Play Hockey Program. This program takes place in two parts: registration and fittings in August/September, and the four-week on-ice program at Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Skating Rink in North Adams starting the first weekend in October.

For a registration fee of $140, the program includes a full set of CCM equipment to keep (valued at $500 retail), a professional personalized fitting led by Pure Hockey's fit experts, and four weeks of on-ice instruction led by certified coaches. Sign up online.

Skating lessons are highly recommended before the start of the Bruins Academy Learn to Play program. In addition, this program is intended for children who have not participated in an organized hockey program or Bruins Academy Learn to Play before. Children must have been born between 2010-2014 to take part. Additionally NBYHL will offer Bruins Academy participates 16 additional weeks of hockey in their Learn to Play hockey program. All participates are required to register with USA hockey ($54 cost).


Early childhood openings

The Berkshire Waldorf School (formerly known as The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School) is starting a new early childhood two-day program for children ages 2 1/2 to 3 1/2. The new program, starting on Sept. 9, will be held on Thursdays and Fridays through the school year. Located in the Rose Room nursery at the Betty Szold Krainis Early Childhood Building, this gentle first introduction to school includes artistic activities, singing, music and movement, wholesome snacks which the children help to prepare, and visits to the chickens and cows.

Registration is now open for September. Sliding scale tuition is available for this new program. For more information, contact Admissions Director Robyn Coe by email or by phone at 413-528-4015, ext. 106. Berkshire Waldorf School is an independent coeducational day school, one of more than 1,000 Waldorf Schools worldwide, fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools of New England, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America). Serving students from early childhood through eighth grade, the school's curriculum integrates rigorous academics with arts, music, movement, outdoor learning and three-season intramural sports.


Residence hall open house

Williams College invites the public to an open house at the recently completed Garfield House residence hall on Friday, Aug. 16, at 1:30 p.m. The new building, located at 45 South St. in Williamstown, provides housing for undergraduate students. Designed by SGA Architects, the 16,000 square-foot structure features 40 beds in 10 double and 20 single bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining and living room areas, laundry facilities, and bike storage. In addition, the residence hall includes multiple gathering spaces strategically located throughout the building.

Reflective of Williams College's strong commitment to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Garfield House is designed to LEED Gold standards as well as a high-performance, wood-framed building using the "Passive House" design criteria and philosophy. One of the first two residence halls in Massachusetts to meet the rigorous energy-efficiency standards of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), this represents the most stringent energy performance criteria in the industry today and focuses heavily on a well-insulated, airtight outer shell, high performance windows, and high-efficiency energy recovery.


Fort Massachusetts remembrance

The North Adams Historical Society will hold its annual Siege of Fort Massachusetts commemoration on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 1 p.m. on the deck at the Holiday Inn, 40 Main St., future home of the North Adams Museum of History and Science.  The actual siege took place August 19-20, 1746.

President Charles Cahoon will welcome all. Wendy Champney, author of "The Forgotten Ledge of Fort Massachusetts," will describe the new model of the Fort recently constructed by her husband Michael and soon to be displayed in the museum. Justyna Carlson, NAHS secretary, will acknowledge the 160th anniversary of the planting of the Perry Elm on the barracks site via Society collection postcards and read "Captivity," the poem by Annie W. McMillin that appeared in the 1895 fundraising issue of the Transcript as local women attempted to raise money to rebuild a replica of the fort. The observance is free and open to the public.

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Mount Greylock School Committee Gets Report on Start of School Year

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District on Tuesday evening plans a community forum on the start of the school year.
The School Committee last Thursday heard that things are going as well as can be expected as the PreK-12 district re-invents the way it teaches students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are really appreciative of the fact that we've had a couple of weeks of remote learning actually, despite some challenges," said Joelle Brookner, who this summer transitioned from being principal at Williamstown Elementary School to being director of curriculum and instruction for the district.
"Bringing in small groups of people that we have in each of the student support centers in the schools has its own set of challenges, and it's allowed us to work out some kinks. It's allowing us to anticipate some of what the problems are probably going to be when we have more students in the building, such as distancing."
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