Berkshires to Boston: USC Kaufman sets East Coast tour, debut at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

June 11, 2024

BFA students of the Class of 2024 in "Medulla Problems" by Kyle Abraham, a featured piece of the Boston program | Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

In a school first, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance will present a program of original works at America’s longest-running international dance festival and the Boston region.

The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance is set to tour the Boston region this summer, beginning with its debut at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, July 24, as part of the festival’s upcoming nine-week summer season. The school will then make a special presentation at the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre at Boston University on July 28, in partnership with the USC Alumni Association. Both programs will feature performances by USC Kaufman BFA students in recent new works by Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professor in Dance Kyle Abraham, USC Kaufman Artist-in-Residence Hope Boykin, and USC Kaufman Professors Nina Flagg and Jackie Kopcsak.

“To perform at Jacob’s Pillow is to be part of history,” said Julia M. Ritter, Dean of USC Kaufman. “This dance festival is unlike any other in the world. The artists and companies are of such high quality and variety. It’s a real growth opportunity for our BFA students, who will soon share the same stage as some of the best dancers anywhere, performing in front of audience members of all walks of life. Boston is also going to be a real treat, and we look forward to engaging with a robust Trojan presence with the support of the USC Alumni Association.”

USC Kaufman’s appearance at Jacob’s Pillow and the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre features a program that includes two original works of choreography created for USC Kaufman BFA students. The first, Medulla Problems, inspired by the music of Björk, is by USC Kaufman Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professor in Dance and MacArthur Genius winner Kyle Abraham (Abraham is also founder of the acclaimed New York City-based company A.I.M by Kyle Abraham). Medulla Problems debuted earlier this spring during USC Kaufman’s annual Spring BFA Showcase. The second piece, … Loving Well, set to the music of Stevie Wonder, is by USC Kaufman Artist-in-Residence and two-time Bessie Award winner Hope Boykin. … Loving Well premiered at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills in 2022 as part of the school’s Spring BFA Showcase. Also featured on the program: L/Anding, an original work from USC Kaufman Lecturer Nina Flagg (Dancehall, Hip-Hop), was recently unveiled during USC Kaufman’s Spring 2024 BFA Showcase. Jackie Kopcsak rounds out the program with a world premiere titled Sweet Nothings

USC Kaufman at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

Founded in 1933 by modern dance pioneers Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis, Jacob’s Pillow experienced several decades of evolution before ultimately morphing into one of the most celebrated international dance festivals in the world. Today, the festival functions as a performance venue, artist retreat, and one of the nation’s leading organizations for dance education. In 2003, the federal government named Jacob’s Pillow a National History Landmark. In 2011, the festival was recognized by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts.

In addition to USC Kaufman, the summer festival single-day programming also features performances from Annie Hanauer, INSPIRIT, The School at Jacob’s Pillow Performance Ensemble, and Sekou McMiller & Friends, among many other prominent companies performing throughout the full summer season. Headliners of the 2024 summer festival include Camille A. Browne and Dancers and The Royal Ballet. Tickets are currently on sale. 

USC Kaufman and the USC Alumni Association at Boston University

Opened in 2018, Boston University’s Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre was listed among the best new architectural structures around the globe (Wallpaper magazine, 2019). The 250- seat theater was designed to educate the 21st-century artist through an adaptable, multi-purpose stage to accommodate multiple performances, ranging from theater to dance and beyond. It houses the College of Fine Arts Production Center, a 75,000 square foot space that includes a state-of-the-art Light and Sound lab and high-bay spaces for constructing, painting, and moving scenery and sets.

On July 28, USC Kaufman will present a special performance, followed by a reception hosted by USC Trustee Shelly Nemirovsky, in partnership with the USC Alumni Association. The USC Alumni Association supports more than 100 affiliated alumni organizations, including regional, alumnae (women’s), generational, affinity and school-based groups, and industry networks.

About USC Kaufman

Founded in 2012 by a transformational gift by Glorya Kaufman, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance combines artistic preeminence with industry access at one of the nation’s leading private universities. Since welcoming its inaugural class in fall 2015, USC Kaufman has hosted some of the leading artistic voices in dance. From world-renowned faculty members to exclusive partnerships with cutting-edge dance companies, the USC Kaufman School of Dance is a premier hub for dance in Southern California. 

Tour Sponsors

The USC Kaufman 2024 Summer Tour is made possible by the following: The Lau Family, Tour Lead Benefactors; The Noble Family Collaborative Arts Fund.

Additional support provided by: The Rod & Elsie Nakamoto Travel Fund; The Robert N. Braun, MD & Joan Friedman, MD Travel Fund.

Special thanks to: Shelly Nemirovsky, Hank and Gerry Alpert and the USC Kaufman Board of Councilors.