Camille A. Brown at Jacob's PIllow

Received the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2016,

By: - Jul 02, 2024

Jacob’s Pillow welcomes four-time Tony Award-nominated choreographer and 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Recipient, Camille A. Brown, back for her company’s full week engagement during Week 6 of this summer’s Festival. In their first appearance since 2017, Camille A. Brown & Dancers will perform the World Premiere of I AM, a work that features dance and music genres of the African Diaspora and is inspired by both the HBO series Lovecraft Country and the rhythms of the movie Drumline. The work imagines a creative space for cultural liberation and conjures the various ways that joy lives within Black culture. Camille A. Brown & Dancers will premiere this work in the Ted Shawn Theatre from Wednesday, July 31 through Sunday, August 4.

 “It is a thrill to welcome Camille A. Brown back to the Pillow, this time for the world premiere of I AM,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge. “Since she received the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2016, she has seen a meteoric rise as a choreographer and director of opera and Broadway productions, from her stunning work on Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, to her Tony nominated work this year on the Alicia Keys musical Hell’s Kitchen. 

 “When I saw her Pillow Lab showing in January of 2023,” Tatge continued, “I knew that her newest work for her own company needed to premiere at the Pillow. She has always had a gift for sharing with audiences the ways that joy shows up in Black culture. We can’t wait for her magnificent dancers and musicians to take over the Ted Shawn Theatre with this groundbreaking new work.” 

 Week 6 of the Festival will also feature one-night-only performances on the Henry J. Leir Stage, beginning with Emma Cianchi’s company, ArtGarage, from Naples, Italy, in the world premiere of Il mare che ci unisce on Wednesday, July 31. Bindlestiff Family Cirkus—a world-traveled duet of American artists that brings a unique hybrid of vaudeville, circus and sideshow spectacle—will perform on Thursday, August 1. On Friday, August 2, audiences will see House of Jit as well as A Lady In The House Dance Co., in a shared program that offers a thrilling peek into the world of Jit—a regional and acrobatic social dance from Detroit—and a performance by A Lady In The House’s founder and legendary dancer in waacking and house dance styles, Nubian Néné. One-night-only performances are available on a Choose What You Pay model.

 Jacob’s Pillow will end the week of outdoor performances by welcoming David Dorfman Dance on Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4 for performances of (A)Way Out of My Body—a collective story of searching for personal “truths” among fantastical sensations. Tickets for David Dorfman Dance start at $40. All performances are now on sale. 

 In addition to performances, Jacob’s Pillow will also offer a series of curated events for the public that explore the intersection of dance and technology. Conceived by Talvin Wilks with new media artist LaJuné McMillian, Snakehips in our DNA is a free, open-gallery experience in Sommers Studio features dancers responding to the soul and spirit of the legendary Harlem Renaissance era dancer, Earl ‘Snakehips’ Tucker. Co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and the Apollo Theatre in New York City, Snakehips in our DNA explores the trajectory of dance from the Harlem Renaissance to the present through video installation and new media. The gallery is open from Wednesday July 31 through Sunday August 4.

 Then on Friday, August 2, Jacob’s Pillow will present the beloved All Styles Dance Battle, in which dancers representing a wide range of styles—including Festival artists, dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, and regional artists—compete for first place. Tickets are on sale and start at $50. 

 Jacob’s Pillow will also offer a free event held on Saturday, August 3 centered on the campus’s Eastern Woodlands Homesite, conceived and developed by Andre Strongbearheart Gaines Jr.—Creative Director of NO LOOSE BRAIDS and member of Nipmuc Nation—along with Tracy Ramos, William SmallEarCoyote Connors, Miguel WanderingTurtle Garate, and Nazario TallHairRedDeer Garate. This discussion onsite at Jacob’s Garden will bring the Eastern Woodland people and the public together to highlight urgent issues of access, health, and the sustainability of cedar swamps in the Eastern Woodlands.

 Additionally, Jacob’s Pillow will offer a free PillowTalk on Sat., August 3 at 4pm inspired by Harlem Renaissance-era dancer Earl ‘Snakehips’ Tucker—the focus of the open gaallery experience Snakehips in Our DNA in Sommers Studio. Jacob’s Pillow will also offer a workshop with headlining company Camille A. Brown & Dancers on Sunday, August 4. This event is open to all dance experience levels, ages 16+.


Recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2016, four-time Tony Award-nominated choreographer and director Camille A. Brown continues her meteoric rise creating new work on stage, TV, and film as the founder of Camille A. Brown & Dancers.

Brown is a “prodigious” (VOGUE) Bessie, Obie, and Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer and director. She made history as the first Black director at the Metropolitan Opera when she co-directed Fire Shut Up In My Bones (2021). With the Broadway revival of for colored girls… in 2022 (which earned her a Tony nomination for Best Direction of a Play), she became the first Black woman to direct and choreograph a Broadway play since Katherine Dunham in 1955. 

 Following her work earlier this spring as the choreographer of the new Alicia Keys musical Hell’s Kitchen—which led to a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography (her third Tony nomination in this category)—Brown returns to the roots of her own dance company, deepening her exploration of Black joy in the world premiere of I AM in the Ted Shawn Theatre, developed in part through a Pillow Lab residency in 2023.

 About the World Premiere of I AM

While Brown has often disrupted our understanding of the past, in this new work she imagines a creative space for cultural liberation—conjuring the various ways that joy lives within Black culture, querying the possibilities of imagination, and boldly investigating the future.

Inspired by the “I AM” episode of the HBO series Lovecraft Country and the rhythms of the movie Drumline, this new work picks up where ink (2017) left off by blasting us into a universe where anything is possible. Featuring various dance and music genres of the African Diaspora, I AM includes live and original music by Deah Love Harriott, Juliette Jones, Jaylen Petinuad, and Martine Wade.

 Lead commissioning support for I AM has been provided by Jacob’s Pillow’s Joan B. Hunter New Work Commission, The Joyce Theater, the Meany Center for the Performing Arts, and the Apollo.

 The creation and presentation of I AM was made possible with major support from the Mellon Foundation and additional support from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and Mellon Foundation); the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Princess Grace Foundation-USA; Masterwork Music and Art Foundation; the Harkness Foundation for Dance; Ford Foundation; and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Public support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

 I AM received creative development time and funding support for residencies through Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Pillow Lab (Becket, MA) and the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Orpheum Performing Arts Center (Tannersville, NY). The work also developed at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park (Tivoli, NY).


The outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage hosts Emma Cianchi and her company from Naples, Italy for their one-night-only Pillow debut on July 31. This performance includes a “Choose What You Pay” ticketing option, with a suggested ticket price of $25.

Based in Naples, Italy, Emma Cianchi is the leading force of ArtGarage, and curator of dance at the Teatro Bellini. Cianchi’s company in its United States debut will present the world premiere of Il mare che ci unisce (translation: the sea that unites us). The work explores the subtle connections that despite distances unite people across time and space. As if from a bas-relief, ancestral figures of the culture and history of the Mediterranean land appear in a work with music composed by the Neapolitan violinist Lino Cannavacciuolo who uses instruments typical of the musical culture of southern Italy in a new contemporary form.  The presentation at Jacob’s Pillow is supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture and American Dance Abroad.


The outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage hosts Bindlestiff Family Cirkus for a special one-night-only performance on August 1. This performance includes a “Choose What You Pay” ticketing option, with a suggested ticket price of $25.

 Since 1995, The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus has traveled the world with a talented and diverse troupe of American circus artists, bringing a unique hybrid of vaudeville, circus, and sideshow spectacle to theaters, clubs, colleges, and festivals. Bindlestiff Family Cirkus combines jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, plate spinning, sword swallowing, novelty music and dance, and other risk-taking feats set to live music, creating an interactive evening of fun for the entire family.

The company’s shows have ranged from family events to annual Off-Broadway productions and Bindlestiff’s Flatbed Follies, a free mobile circus in the streets of NYC. Annually, Bindlestiff presents the NYC Unicycle Festival; the First of May Award for support of emerging artists; connects youth to the arts with Bindlestiff’s Cirkus After School and Cavalcade of Youth performances; and provides a springboard to development with Bindlestiff’s Open Stage Variety Show, the premiere open mic just for circus folks. The New York Times has called Bindlestiff Family Cirkus an “old-fashioned variety entertainment of the sort Ed Sullivan so astutely scooped up, but with twists,” while TIME OUT NY exclaimed that “this troupe of circus artists will remind your family what the circus is really about.”


The outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage hosts dancers from Detroit’s House of Jit and A Lady In The House Dance Company’s Nubian Néné for a special one-night-only performance on August 2. This performance includes a “Choose What You Pay” ticketing option, with a suggested ticket price of $25.

This shared program offers a thrilling peek into the world of Jit, a regional social dance from Detroit marked by acrobatic flips and kicks, drops and spins, and feet that hit the air at high speed. House of Jit, making its Pillow debut, is a collective whose founder, Mike Manson, was featured on the television show So You Think You Can Dance, and who has performed around the world. For New England audiences, this is a rare opportunity to enjoy House of Jit’s unmatched style live, as the group works to spread the Detroit Jit culture into the mainstream.

 Ticket buyers will also see a program by A Lady In The House’s founder Nubian Néné, a legendary dancer in waacking and house dance styles. Born in Montréal, Nubian Néné is a powerful artist who wears many hats: host, judge, performer, director, choreographer, community builder, and more. She teaches, judges and performs nationally and internationally, and has appeared on stages including the New Victory Theater, Gramercy Theater, and at Lincoln Center. She is the founder of Waack Bazaar Festival as well as A Lady In The House Dance Co., and was a CUNY Dance Initiative 2022-23 Artist in Residence. At Jacob’s Pillow, she hosted last summer’s All Styles Dance Battle, and also performed on the Leir Stage with Passion Fruit in 2022 as well as with the collective Nefer Global Movement in 2023.


For almost 40 years, David Dorfman has been on a mission “to get the whole world dancing” by delivering audiences a provocative mix of visceral dance, music, and text, in performances that offer post-modern dance as something inviting, accessible, and interactive. Dorfman “has never shied away from open-hearted explorations of self and society, channeling big ideas into raw hyper-athletic movement that calls for go-for-broke dancers” (The New York Times.) At the Pillow, the company will perform (A)Way Out of My Body, a collective story of searching for personal “truths” among fantastical sensations. The piece features live music by singer/songwriter Lizzy de Lise and music director/composer Sam Crawford.

David Dorfman Dance has toured nationally and internationally from Turkey to Tajikistan, and has performed at major New York City venues including The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, Danspace Project/St. Mark’s Church, La Mama Theater, The Duke on 42nd Street, The Met Breuer, and the 92nd St. “Y”/Harkness Dance Festival. Dorfman and the company’s dancers and artistic collaborators have been honored with eight New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards. Company alumni include Kyle Abraham, Raja Feather Kelly, Jennifer Nugent, and Kendra Portier.