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Harlem Dance, Buddy Guy's Blues, Nat 'King' Cole Stylings Highlight Week
By Grace Lichtenstein, Guest Column
11:00AM / Wednesday, July 10, 2019
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The 50th anniversary of the beloved Dance Theatre of Harlem is being celebrated July 10-14 at the Ted Shawn Theatre.

Blues, jazz, hip-hop, folk, cabaret — you can catch a bit of everything with the varied pops calendar in our region this week. Big names, too: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Buddy Guy, John Davidson to name a few.

Jacob's Pillow

The 50th anniversary of the beloved Dance Theatre of Harlem is being celebrated July 10-14 at the Ted Shawn Theatre. Co-founded by the late Arthur Mitchell, it is now headed by founding member and former principal dancer Virginia Johnson. This is the troupe's first return to the Pillow in five years.

On the bill are a collection of works from the 21st as well as 20th century: Darrell Grand Moultrie's "Harlem on My Mind," Christopher Wheeldon's "This Bitter Earth," George Balanchine's "Valse Fantaisie" and an expanded version of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Balamouk."

"Harlem on My Mind" traces the history of jazz through five couples, according to the Pillow announcement. The work features musical compositions by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Rodgers and Hart, Wynton Marsalis, and a contemporary arrangement of "My Funny Valentine" by trumpeter Chris Botti. What makes "Balamouk" special is that it has been expanded since it was originally created by Jacob's Pillow Dance Award winner Ochoa.

At the Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre, come feel the "POWER," a world premiere by the  Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performing Group. This is a full-length work that Wilson calls "post-Africa/Neo-HooDoo Modern dance." "POWER" is a Pillow commission.

Visitors can also catch free Inside/Out performances on Pillow grounds Wednesday, July 10, (Phunk Phenomenon) through Saturday, July 13, at 6:15 p.m. And talk about family fun: Saturday July 13, at 11 a.m., the Pillow has scheduled "Dog Dance" on its Great Lawn. It's described as a "participatory event for beloved canines and their dance-loving companions." No experience is necessary, but advance registration is encouraged online.


The word legend has almost lost its meaning in music, but how else can one describe 82-years-young bluesman Buddy Guy? This pioneering Chicago electric guitarist stops at the Mahaiwe on Sunday, July 14, at 7 p.m. for a relaxed evening of great music, with special guest Tom Hambridge as the opening opening act.
More information online.

The Mount

The terrace of Edith Wharton's storied home in Lenox is the setting for "Music After Hours" on Friday and Saturday nights from 5 to 8 p.m. Local favorite Andy Wrba and the Berkshire Jazz Collective are on the bill Friday, while the Bob Meyer Project takes over Saturday. More information can be found online.

Barrington Stage

Las Vegas regular Clint Holmes presents his tribute to Nat "King" Cole on the occasion of the master pianist and singer's centenary, and you probably know all the words to songs like "Unforgettable." He is accompanied by pianist and vibraphonist Christian Tamburr. The venue is Mr. Finn's Cabaret (a presentation of the Barrington Stage Company), located at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield, Sunday, July 14, and Monday, July 15, at 8 p.m. Details online.

Guthrie Center

Entertainer John Davidson comes to the Guthrie Center at the Old Trinity Church in Great Barrington Friday, July 12, at 8 p.m. for an evening of songs and perhaps stories about his time as the host of the Hollywood Squares and other events in his music and TV career.

Then, Vance Gilbert, a contemporary singer/songwriter with jazz roots, appears at the Guthrie Center Saturday, July 13, at 8 p.m. More info online.

Williamstown Theatre Festival

The Festival gives stars — artists involved in its plays and up-and-coming non-Equity and apprentice performers — a chance to entertain at its Late-Night Cabaret on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at  Goodrich Hall in Williamstown. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Details online.

Want more?

There's live music at numerous Berkshire venues, including:

July 10:
Live on the Lake, free music outdoor evenings at Burbank Park, Lake Onota in Pittsfield.

July 10: Concerts at the Lake, Windsor Lake outside North Adams.

July 11: The Chalet at Mass MoCA

Just 12: Picky B's at the Trailside Music Series, free evenings Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Lenox.

July 14: Sixth annual Mt. Greylock Jazz Festival at the Bascom Lodge atop Mt. Greylock near Adams.

For ongoing music, check out the patio of Mazzeo’s Ristorante in Pittsfield, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield, Gateways Inn and Restaurant in Lenox, and the Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge.

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