At Dog Dance, the desire to groove with pets is unleashed

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BECKET — Turns out, dogs like to dance.

It sure seemed that way at Jacob's Pillow on Saturday, during the third Dog Dance, in which about 60 dogs and 70 or so humans went through a dance routine step by step, then put it together.

The dogs didn't do dance steps per se, of course, but they did seem to like interacting with their humans as they joined in the dance routine. And they clearly relished meeting new furry friends during the session.

All the dogs were connected to their person by leash as they took instructions from Elizabeth Johnson and Debbie Maciel of the Maryland-based arts organization Dance Exchange and the annual Dog Dance choreographers.

The humans were from all age groups, as were the critters.

Everyone was well-behaved, even the people. Some of the dogs were dressed in festive finery.

"It is so joyous," said Pamela Tatge, director of Jacob's Pillow. "There is a community in the Berkshires that loves their dogs, so, why not bring them together in this beautiful, astonishing environment."

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She got the idea at a previous venue in Connecticut, and brought it with her to Jacob's Pillow.

"What more wonderful way to bring the community together?" Tatge asked.

Participants were free to offer a donation to the Berkshire Humane Society, a shelter for homeless pets in Pittsfield.

"And it brings people to Jacob's Pillow who never have been here before, and we hope they'll come back," said Thasia Giles, director of community engagement at Jacob's Pillow. "It brings together the joy of dogs and the joy of movement, and lets people experience their dogs in a different way."

Arthur Levey, a summer resident of the Berkshires, brought his two pals, Josh, a Yorkie mix, and Eta, a mixed breed. Both of them are tiny bundles of cute. At one point, Levey simply picked up the two and began dancing, holding them in the air.

He said the Dog Dance brought together both of his passions: dance — he has been a member of Jacob's Pillow for decades — and dogs. Levey and his partner rescue homeless pets during their winters in Florida.

"The thing is, dogs not only give you love, they also give you something to care for," Levey said. "And they raise you up, which is kind of nice."

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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