When we think about how lucky we mid-Hudsonites are to live in such close proximity to the cultural treasures of the Berkshires, it’s usually Tanglewood that we primarily have in mind, followed perhaps by the area’s rich selection of art museums. But not far away is the summertime epicenter of dance in America: Jacob’s Pillow. The farm in Becket, Massachusetts that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad and became home to the pioneering Denishawn modern dance company in 1930 is, astonishingly, about to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
Last year, director Ron Honsa took advantage of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s status as a lodestone that attracts the world’s finest and most diverse array of dance companies to make a documentary about the artform, its history, its practitioners and the Festival itself. Narrated by the groundbreaking contemporary choreographer Bill T. Jones, Never Stand Still will be screened at the Rosendale Theatre this Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. as part of the Theatre’s ongoing Dance Film Sundays series.
Never Stand Still immerses the viewer in the world of dance through entertaining interviews with dancers and choreographers, backstage access, rare archival footage from the 1930s and ‘40s and thrilling high-definition captures of performances by internationally renowned dance troupes. Among those caught onscreen are the Mark Morris Dance Group, Chunky Move from Australia, Stockholm 59° North from Sweden, Shantala Shivalingappa from India, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Royal Danish Ballet, Mimulus Dance Company from Brazil, the Zaccho Dance Theatre and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
In one of his last interviews, the late, legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham reveals in this film why dance “is not for the timid.” Suzanne Farrell, Frederic Franklin, Paul Taylor, Judith Jamison, Joanna Haigood, Marge Champion, Anna-Marie Holmes, Shantala Shivalingappa, Jomar Mesquita, Bill Irwin and Nikolaj Hübbe also share personal stories and views on their artform. This is a one-time showing of a spectacular documentary that won’t be making the rounds of the mall cinemas, so it’s a can’t-miss opportunity for anyone who’s an aficionado of dance.
Tickets go for $10 and can be purchased at box office on the day of the show. For more information, visit the Rosendale Theatre website at https://rosendaletheatre.org or call (845) 658-8989.