The Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival was founded in 1933 and is the oldest continuing summer dance festival in the United States. It got it’s humble beginnings in 1931 when dance pioneer Ted Shawn purchased the Jacobs Pillow farm as a retreat. The farm itself was founded in 1790 near a road that locals called Jacob’s Ladder.
The festival started in 1933 as a series of demonstrations of the work of dancers and physical education students intent upon demonstrating dance as an honorable career for men. From these simple beginnings the dance festival has grown into:
- A wide variety of dance performances both ticketed and free
- A series of talks including free talks, as well as pre- and post-show talks
- Diverse free public exhibits
- Special events
- Film events
The U.S. Government designated Jacob’s Pillow a National Historic Landmark in recognition of its importance in America’s culture and history in 2003. Jacob’s Pillow was the country’s first Landmark dance institution and is to this date its only Landmark dance institution. In 2007 Jacob’s Pillow was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
Jacob’s Pillow is a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Season
The season for the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival runs from mid-June through the end of August.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
358 George Carter Road
Becket, MA 01223