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Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow (DVD Review)

15 Jul, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 7/17/12
First Run
Box Office $0.01 million
$27.95 DVD
Not rated.

Nestled in the hills of Western Massachusetts is a dancer’s paradise, a sanctuary where creative minds convene to stretch the possibilities of the art form. This place is known as Jacob’s Pillow.

Never Stand Still is a 74-minute masterpiece, part history lesson, part performance art about the beautiful movements and pieces that have come from “The Pillow,” as it’s known among the dance community.

Just about every style of dance imaginable is represented in the film, from ballet to modern to traditional Indian. As dance evolves and reaches new audiences, the dancers and choreographers make it clear: “Dance can never stand still.” Dance will always be fluid, ever changing, continually pushing boundaries and creating new styles. The Jacob’s Pillow community has made it its mission to keep the lifeblood flowing in to dance, in all forms.

One of the most interesting parts of the documentary came from the Zaccho Dance Theatre’s performance, which incorporated storytelling, dance and live music to tell the story of slavery. Interestingly enough, Jacob’s Pillow once was a stop on the Underground Railroad. A brief featurette shares how the Carter family patriarch risked his life by being a part of that 19th century covert freedom operation.

Archival footage from the early days of Jacob’s Pillow, home to a dance school and annual festival, serves as a reminder of just how dancers like founder Ted Shawn and Paul Taylor made an indelible print on the world of expressive movement.

Overall, Never Stand Still is a dancer’s film that also makes fans of non-performers.

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