Adam Weinert Reconstructs Ted Shawn’s Work at Jacob’s Pillow | Promo Video

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Promotional Video | 2 comments

Christopher, Amber (on my Team!) and I spent a long weekend at Jacob’s Pillow filming a special behind-the-scenes documentary-style video of Adam Weinert’s reconstruction of Ted Shawn’s iconic piece Dance of the Ages. (I hopped on Facebook Live a couple weeks ago to talk more about the show and all-things marketing with Abby Wood – watch here!)

One word to describe Adam Weinert’s reconstruction of Ted Shawn’s Dance of the Ages? AMAZING! No really – I was blown away.

We first saw the piece on Wednesday in the Bakalar Studio when we filmed the dress rehearsal. Like most dress rehearsals go, bits and pieces of the performance were still being worked out – costumes were getting their final finishing touches and the space was still being set up. Nevertheless, my team and I were in awe of what Adam Weinert created – it was magical. I almost dropped my camera because I was so amazed by Ted Shawn’s choreography. It looked so intricate and difficult. The dancers nailed it.

During dress rehearsal, Amber and I filmed from many different angles. Then, the next day, we filmed more rehearsal (again from many different angles). I wanted to capture as much as I possibly could. This performance was a big deal and this is a short behind the scenes video we made a day after we filmed just to show the world what was happening. We’re finishing up a longer film about it soon!!

I filmed interviews with Sydney Skybetter and Norton Owen (Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow) and learned so much. We totally geeked out about all-things Ted Shawn. We discussed how haunting the performance was – it is almost as though we felt Ted Shawn’s presence on the Pillow grounds.

On Friday night, we filmed the show indoors (it was raining). Everyone was in awe of the performance. Adam Weinert and his dancers received a standing ovation. On Saturday, we filmed the show in the tea garden just like the original performance back in the day. The dancers came out in bathrobes and served tea and sandwiches to the crowd.

Adam Weinert not only reconstructed the choreography of Ted Shawn, but also wanted to recreate moments that we have seen on film and in photographs of what the Men Dancers did. We spent some time following the dancers around campus while they prepared for the show. I captured some footage in the Stone Dining Room and couldn’t stop laughing that Ruffle potato chips were in my shot (I don’t think Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers ate Ruffle potato chips!!!)

Something that Adam recreated was the carrot ring which is talked about in The Men Who Danced Film. Back in the day, the dancers really did not have enough money to eat, so they would cut up carrots and put them in a ring around their plate to make it look nicer and probably more civilized even though that was all they could afford. I must say, if they only ate carrots and danced the way their danced, they must have been running on some serious adrenaline!!!

Filming Adam Weinert’s reconstruction of Ted Shawn’s Dance of the Ages was a very special time and honestly I am still riding high from the experience. Amber, Christopher and I had so much fun and worked so hard!!! We’re completing a longer video about the project that’s really exciting!! We can’t wait to share it with you!

Nel Shelby Dance Videographer in Action

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