First steps: Jacob's Pillow to begin construction on new Perles Family Studio


BECKET — Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival is planning to begin work this fall on a new home for The School at Jacob's Pillow.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Oct. 14 for the 7,373-square-foot Perles Family Studio. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the festival's 2017 season — its 85th.

The building will be adjacent to The School's current home, the 1,975-square-foot Sommers Studio in the center of the Jacob's Pillow campus. Sommers will become a secondary rehearsal space for The School once the new building is ready.

The estimated $4.5 million studio, which has been approved by the Becket Zoning Board of Appeals, is the centerpiece of a Jacob's Pillow capital campaign, details of which are expected to be announced in the spring.

The design is by Flansburg Architects of Boston. The contractor is Allegrone Construction of Lenox, which has been involved in several projects at the Pillow, among them, housing for artists and staff and the new Inside/Out stage.

Named in recognition of a lead gift from the Perles Family Foundation and Jacob's Pillow Trustee Claudia Perles, the Perles Family Studio is designed to be used year-round. It will include a 3,500-square-foot sprung dance floor, high ceilings, a private porch overlooking the Inside/Out stage, dressing rooms, offices and storage space.

There also will be an observation deck that can accommodate up to 29 observers of the classes. The studio also will be able to accommodate up to 150 people for viewings of indoor Inside/Out performances.

The building will allow the Pillow to expand its Creative Development Residency Program, which invites choreographers and dance companies to spend anywhere from one to three weeks on campus in the fall, winter and spring rehearsing or creating work.

The new studio, Pillow director Pamela Tatge said in a news release, represents the Pillow's commitment to The School — which offers four professional advancement programs for national and international students, taught by a professional artist faculty — and year-round creative development.

Sommers is limited by its square footage and "the inability to control the temperature of the space throughout the year," according to the news release.

"This new studio ensures that our facilities live up to the prestigious reputation of The School at Jacob's Pillow and symbolizes a commitment to our growing role as a center for dance research, development, and training," Tatge said in the release. "(This) is an investment in dance artists and the future of this form."


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