Bits & Bytes: ‘The Spirit of Christmas Past;’ ‘Omar;’ Spencertown Academy members art show; ‘Middletown’ at Austen Riggs; Jacob’s Pillow announces 2017 programs
‘The Spirit of Christmas Past’ talk
Stockbridge — On Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., Kenneth C. Turino will present “The Spirit of Christmas Past: Four Centuries of Christmas in New England” at the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.
Turino’s illustrated lecture traces the development of the celebration of Christmas from the time it was outlawed in 17th century New England through the beginning of the 21st century when all the trappings of a traditional Christmas were in place. Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for many, but a number of the customs that are taken for granted as part of current holiday celebrations are actually a product of more recent history. The presentation will look at how Christmas was transformed from a rowdy celebration to a family-centered event.
Turino is the manager of community engagement and exhibitions at Historic New England. Prior to that he was executive director of the Lynn Museum. He has worked at a number of historic houses including the Paul Revere House in Boston and is a trustee of the House of Seven Gables in Salem. He frequently consults on interpretive planning and community engagement projects at historic sites. He holds a Masters of Arts from George Washington University and is an adjunct professor in Tufts University’s museum studies program. He serves on the Association for State and Local History‘s council and is a member of its historic house committee. He has published several articles on the history of Christmas and speaks widely on the topic.
For more information, please contact the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives at 413-298-5501.
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Cafe Palestina to screen ‘Omar’
Great Barrington — On Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., Cafe Palestina will present “Omar,” the fourth and final film in its Film Festival series, at the South Berkshire Friends Meeting House. “Omar” integrates a fast-paced thriller with a description of daily life in Palestine and a heart-breaking love story. Hany Abu-Assad’s powerful film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014. Admission if free and light refreshments will be available. All are welcome.
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Spencertown Academy to host members’ art show
Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center will host its first members’ art show featuring paintings, pastels, collages, photographs, sculptures and more made by 29 community members Saturday, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 18. An opening reception will be held Saturday, Dec. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.
The artists to be featured in the show include Steve Bakunas, Arlene Boehm, Berta Burr, Jennifer Clark, Norma Cohen, Phyllis Considine, John Cooley, Diane Fader, Leslie Gabosh, Page Curry Ginns, Patricia Munson Gravett, Valerie Hoffman, Linda Horn, Marybeth Ketz, Alan Knight, Barbara Lax, Jack Millard, Catherine Mosely, Wendy Moss, Clarke Olsen, Georgia Ranney, Gerald Ranson, Gunnel Reznikoff, Valerie Richmond, Trudi Roth, Anita Schermerhorn, Joel Schiller, Amy Silberkleit, Steve Wildermuth and Barbara Willner.
For more information, call Spencertown Academy at (518) 392-3693.
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Austen Riggs to stage ‘Middletown’
Stockbridge — Austen Riggs Center patients and members of the local community will stage a production of “Middletown” by Will Eno in the Center’s Riggs Theatre 37 Tuesday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Riggs Theatre 37 provides an opportunity for patients to explore some of their strengths through involvement in twice-yearly productions. Directed by Shakespeare & Company Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman, the immersive 10-week program includes reading scripts, selecting a play, working through rehearsals and staging performances for the public.
Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (413) 298-5519 x5606.
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Jacob’s Pillow announces programs for 2017
Becket — In the summer of 2017, the School at Jacob’s Pillow will present professional advancement programs in ballet, contemporary and musical theatre dance, as well as a tap program led by Michelle Dorrance.
The 2017 program directors include ballet luminary Anna-Marie Holmes; noted master teacher Milton Myers; Broadway choreographer/director Chet Walker; and choreographer, performer, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient Dorrance. The program directors will be joined by internationally renowned dance artists, choreographers, and artistic directors.
2017 professional advancement programs
Ballet, Monday, June 12, through Sunday, June 25, 2017:
Holmes and a distinguished international faculty will prepare dancers for the artistic range and technical rigor required by today’s world-class ballet companies. Acclaimed choreographer Bruce Wells will create and rehearse a new work on the dancers in just four days. Participants will perform its world premiere at the Jacob’s Pillow 85th anniversary season opening gala on Saturday, June 17, on a program with Festival 2017 artists. Separate men’s and women’s classes are part of the curriculum, as are seminars in career development, musicality, style characteristics, and ballet history.
Tap, Monday, June 26, through Sunday, July 9, 2017:
Dorrance, in collaboration with a roster of esteemed faculty, will share a wide range of choreographic approaches and music styles to sharpen dancers’ musicality and technique. Studio work will include traditional vocabulary, cutting edge styles, improvisation, a cappella musical composition, and working as solo and ensemble performers. Daily classes will emphasize rhythmic structures, musical phrasing, articulated and relaxed approaches to the floor, and use of the full body, particularly in relationship to tap’s folkloric, street, and vernacular history. Music seminars, individual coaching, video viewing, tap history talks, and jam sessions will help develop each dancer’s distinctive artistry while sharing new directions influencing the field today.
Contemporary, Monday, July 10, through Sunday, July 30, 2017:
Under the direction of contemporary dance mentor and master teacher Myers, studio work and performance experiences will prepare dancers to meet the expectations and requirements of today’s most in-demand artistic directors. Supported by a stylistically diverse and highly-acclaimed faculty, Myers will have new work created by top choreographers in the field each week. Dancers will be coached in multiple movement vocabularies, styles, techniques, and performance skills to deepen their ability to communicate choreographic intent and advance their development as articulate, versatile artists.
Musical theatre dance, Monday, July 31, through Monday, Aug. 21, 2017:
Walker will invite award-winning Broadway choreographers, directors, composers/arrangers and musicians to work collaboratively and create original numbers with the same fast pace and rigor required to audition and mount Broadway productions. Training will reflect the necessity for well-versed and multi-faceted Broadway performers to focus on dance styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop to Fosse and contemporary jazz, with one-on-one vocal training and career discussions with top artists in the field.
Auditions and Applications
The 2017 audition tour will launch in early January with stops in Miami, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago for musical theatre, tap, and contemporary program auditions. Led by internationally-acclaimed dance artists in a master-class format, no cuts will be made during the auditions, providing an opportunity for dancers to take a professional class, gain audition experience, and learn more about the School at Jacob’s Pillow. Both in-person and video auditions will be available. Video auditions are required for ballet and highly encouraged for contemporary, tap, and musical theatre dance programs. All applicants must also submit a written application for acceptance consideration. If dancers are unable to attend in-person auditions, video auditions will be accepted and given the same consideration as in-person auditions.
Application and audition details are available online. Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, is the priority consideration deadline; Friday, March 17, 2017, is the final deadline. All applications submitted after March 17 will be reviewed pending placement availability in the program.