Since moving to NYC, it's been a rare thing for me to venture away from home. I went up to Tanglewood in 2000 to hear Makiko sing Dame Quickly under Seiji Ozawa. Wei and I have spent a couple weekends at Richard's in Connecticut and once we went to Philadelphia when Kenny & Sam were living there. But mainly we stick to the domestic routine.
Inevitably, once I get somewhere else, I find myself wishing I was home in my own bed: I inherited this trait from my mother. My father loved to take trips but my mom was a reluctant fellow traveler. She loved being home and so do I, true Cancerian that I am. So despite an opera-lover's curiosity to experience performances at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus or La Scala, I have to rely on my imagination. Here in the USA I have traveled very little; three months living with Ann(e) in Houston back in my Jackson Browne phase was the farthest and longest I've been anywhere west of the Mississippi. Standing invitations to visit Kenny in Fort Lauderdale, Paul & Tom in Provincetown or even Mollie in England fall into the realm of wishful thinking. If only we had TREK technology so I could beam to those locations and be back home at bedtime.
But now I'm about to head off on a small adventure: back to Jacob's Pillow. When I lived in Connecticut a visit to the Pillow was a nice day trip. I first went there back in the 1970s when it was very rustic; my friend Andrew and I attended a performance of COPPELIA by the Boston Ballet. His mother packed us a gorgeous lunch and we were picnicking on the lawn when a friendly dog came scampering up and snatched 1/2 of Andrew's roast beef sandwich. We forgave the dog and his owner since they were both so charming.
After that, visits to the Pillow became our summer routine; Richard and I would drive up three or four times each season. We loved Paul Taylor & Hubbard Street; we saw lots of Tharp and Mark Morris. We saw the beginnings of the David Parsons Company when David split off from Paul Taylor. We saw Merrill Ashley there; we saw Martine van Hamel; we saw Damian Woetzel when he was a mere lad; we saw a fascinating Act II GISELLE pas de deux with the back stage doors fully onto the moonlit night. We saw tap, jazz, experimental evenings. And we saw - most memorably - Graham veteran Peggy Lyman in a magical interpretation of THE INCENSE which remains in my mind as clearly as if it were yesterday.
The new studio building was one of many improvements and upgrades over the years and it's lovely, but for us it was always the old barn-like theatre, the original studio, the tea garden and the outdoor stage with it's spectacular mountain backdrop that simply said 'This is the Pillow!' We loved going up early and having a lunch from the deli we'd picked up en route, then taking a walk along the back roads prior to the performance. We would watch the dancers warming up or just sunning themselves behind the theatre. Then someone rang the big old bell and we would go into the hot, dark boxy auditorium and be transported.
Richard may have had an ulterior motive when he gave me a commerative booklet about Jacob's Pillow for Christmas 2006. I think he was counting on my nostalgic streak, and it worked. We've made a plan to go there on August 4th for a performance by Ballet du Grand Theatre Geneve. I'm especially glad that Wei has decided to come with us. It will have been ten years since my last Pillow experience.
When I met Rhona earlier this year at a City Ballet matinee and Jacob's Pillow came up in our conversation, we both took a momentary pause. Almost a reverential pause. We shared our sense of the Pillow being the truest sacred place for dance in this country: so rich in history, and so enduring. I can't wait to be there again.