Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 27, 2003):
Jacobs Pillow, a rural Massachusetts farm, was purchased by Ted Shawn in 1931 as a retreat to create the first male dance company in the United States. In 1915, Shawn and his wife Ruth St. Denis had established the first modern dance company in the U.S., the Denishawn Dance Company. Shawns new company, Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers, was intended to address the limited role of men in dance. Through this company, Shawn created a serious role for male dancers and established an appreciation of men in modern dance. Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, which grew out of Shawns teaching and dance demonstrations, became significant as the first summer dance theater of its size in the U.S. Its international stature began to grow in 1955 when the Royal Danish Ballet made its American debut at the festival. Many of dances most important choreographers, dancers, and musicians created dance works here that have become part of an international repertoire. Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival has also trained and educated several generations of administrators, dancers and choreographers in theory, history and technique.