BECKET, Mass. — Jacob's Pillow announced an expansion to its curatorial team with newly established positions, naming Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas Associate Curators.
This role is designed to broaden the pool of dance artists Jacob's Pillow supports, strengthen the Jacob's Pillow's ability to identify new voices in the field and increase the perspectives involved in programmatic decision-making at the organization.
"Melanie and Ali are deeply respected experts in the field," Jacob's Pillow Executive & Artistic Director Pamela Tatge said in a press release. "I can't wait to work alongside them as they bring their experiences as curators, producers, educators, and dramaturgs to benefit Jacob's Pillow."
The scope of this position has been in development since the fall of 2019 and will begin immediately.
"I am delighted to deepen my relationship with the organization," George said. "I look forward to working with this curatorial team on a season that reflects and responds to the needs and goals of 21st-century dancemaking."
"I am honored to be part of the Jacob's Pillow curatorial team, Ali Rosa-Salas said. "I look forward to the 2021 Festival reflecting the prismatic approaches artists are taking in response to the political and social movements of our time."
In the new curatorial positions, George and Rosa-Salas will work closely with Jacob's Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge and Producing Director Ariana Massery to identify, research and engage with a wide breadth of local, national, and international dance artists, review and contemplate programming choices and discuss curatorial approaches to their presentation.
The positions will leverage 88 years of Jacob's Pillow's history of presenting diverse dance genres from around the world as it spearheads new programming for the organization.
Their role will be focused on curating the Pillow Lab artist residency program, which awards 8-10 customizable developmental, research and technical residencies to artists throughout the months of September to May (this year including COVID-19 safety protocols); Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, which annually presents over 50 artists from around the world; as well as new virtual opportunities, including upcoming commissions aligned with the expansion of Jacob's Pillow's growing online presenting arm, Virtual Pillow.
The appointment, as currently stands, is through February 2021. The role will be revisited on an annual basis.
About Melanie George
Melanie George is an educator, dramaturg, choreographer, scholar and certified movement analyst. She is the founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project and a Scholar-in-Residence at Jacob's Pillow. As a dramaturg, she works closely with internationally recognized contemporary performing artists in the incubation of new works for the stage. George has contributed to projects by David Neumann & Marcella Murray (on the Obie Award winning Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed), Kimberly Bartosik/daela, Raja Feather Kelly, Susan Marshall & Company, Urban Bush Women, Machine Dazzle, Kathy Westwater and Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, among others. Current projects include new works by Helen Simoneau Danse and Ephrat Asherie Dance. A highly sought after teacher and choreographer of the neo-jazz aesthetic, her jazz choreography is regularly commissioned by colleges throughout the United States.
George has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation and pedagogy throughout the U.S., in Canada and Scotland, and founded the global jazz dance advocacy website jazzdancedirect.com. Publications include "Jazz Dance, Pop Culture and the Music Video Era" in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and "Imbed/In Bed: Two Perspectives on Dance and Collaboration" in Working Together in Qualitative Research. George is a featured contributor and consultant for the documentary UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance. George has worked as a consultant in the arts for over a decade, applying her expertise in scholarship and education to assist artists and arts organizations in articulating language and facilitating the development of creative work. In addition to her work with independent choreographers and dance educators, George has provided professional services for The Joyce Theater, The Guggenheim Museum, BAM, and Stephen Petronio Company, among others. She is the former Dance Program Director at American University, and has guest lectured at Harvard University and The Juilliard School, among other institutions. Currently, she is a Visiting Professor at Cornish College of the Arts.
About Ali Rosa-salas
Ali Rosa-Salas is a curator of live performance, music and visual art. Her approach is rooted in the belief that curatorial practice must serve the public good. She finds inspiration from cultural ecosystems of New York City, where she was born and raised. Rosa-Salas is currently the Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, where she curates the Center's performance and exhibition programming, as well as supports the Center's residency programs. During her tenure, she has commissioned programming that engages many of the vibrant cross-sections of Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Some highlights include: Zapatografia/Shoegraphy (2018), a performance by Larissa Velez-Jackson created in collaboration with the Henry Street Settlement Senior Center; YOUNG WORLD (2019), a three-day hip hop festival curated by the rapper MIKE that honored coming of age in New York City; and Rainbow Shoe Repair: An Unexpected Theater of Flyness (2020), a photography exhibition co-presented with Photoville that celebrated the Lower East Side residents' love for their community and expression of personal style by featuring portraits taken at a local shoe cobbler from the late 1980s to early 2000s.
Prior to Abrons, Rosa-Salas produced performances, exhibitions, and events as an independent curator, organizing: No Such Thing As Neutral (2015) at the Barnard Center of Research on Women about Flex and Lite Feet dance; FUTURE PERFECT/indices & marginalia (2015) at Weeksville Heritage Center, a solo exhibition of work by Kameelah Janan Rasheed; pleasure principles (2016) at Danspace Project, featuring performance by Jonathan Gonzalez, Jasmine Hearn, Londs Reuter, and serpentwithfeet; MAMI (2016) at Knockdown Center, an exhibition co-curated with Dyani Douze, with work by Salome Asega, Doreen Garner, Nona Faustine, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, MALAXA, and Rodan Tekle; the American Realness Festival (2017), where she produced the Festival's discursive events and essay commissions; and the Whitney Museum's first annual Pride Celebration (2018), featuring performances by Ziúr and NIC Kay, which Ali organized in her role as Special Projects Manager for Discwoman. Rosa-Salas received a B.A. from Barnard College in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and an M.A. from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.
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Jacob's Pillow Expands Virtual Programs And Welcomes Artists Back
BECKET, Mass. — Jacob's Pillow announced its fall season including commissions, community artist partnerships, and COVID-19-compliant Pillow Lab residencies through October and December.
Jacob's Pillow will welcome a small number of artists to its campus to develop new works, as well as participate in two community partnerships serving the greater Berkshires and present three online virtual premieres.
"It has been so moving to make calls and invite artists to the Pillow who will have the chance to be fully in the studio dancing together again," Director Pamela Tatge said. "I also can't wait to invite audiences into the studio virtually, to see a new work be born through our new docuseries. I'm so grateful to our members and funders who have made this possible."
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