TBT: Ted Shawn’s Opening Night time Prank at Jacob’s Pillow

When Ted Shawn purchased a mountaintop farm named Jacob’s Pillow in 1931, it would have been difficult to forecast that the scrappy artistic retreat in the Berkshires would turn out to be such a beloved middle for dance in America.

In the summer of 1941, beset by fiscal complications, Shawn rented the Pillow to ballet stars Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova the Intercontinental Dance Festival they made was this kind of a wonderful accomplishment that a group of locals banded jointly to elevate income to buy the residence from Shawn and construct a correct theater, of which he was named director. It opened on program on July 9, 1942, a feat that Shawn described as a “miracle” in the July 1951 issue of Dance Magazine.

Reflecting on creating and preserving the theater in the midst of Earth War II, he wrote: “Our audiences, generally fewer than fifty people, arrived on foot, on horseback, or even made use of to hire a hay wagon to transportation them to and from. I employed to say, following scanning hundreds of vacant seats, that I would faint lifeless absent if I at any time saw the theatre offered out. A newspaper male picked this up and headlined it as follows: ‘Shawn claims to faint the first time each and every seat in his theatre is filled’. In 1946, with the end of gas rationing, a person working day early in the year phrase was introduced to me that each seat in the household was taken. So, going by the curtain just after the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, I took a long search at the totally crammed home and did a convincing ‘Delsarte’ drop. The previous-timers, who realized the gag, laughed uproariously the newcomers appeared at each other appalled and claimed, ‘The person has fainted—how heartless of these men and women to snicker. What is the make a difference with them?’ “

The Ted Shawn Theatre is even now in procedure almost 80 years later.