Join Us at Chesterwood for a Performance (or 2)…

Our two-week Contemporary Intensive is officially underway, and we’re already excited to see what they’ve been working on…   

In fact, mark your calendars! At the end of the two-week intensive, will be a culminating presentation of student work, created in the beautiful sculptural gardens of Chesterwood. 

The presentation is free and open to all, and will take place on:

Friday, July 29th at 5pm at Chesterwood

(Rain date: Saturday, July 30th at 1pm)

We hope you’ll join us!

(poster artwork credit: Christopher Corr)

Arts Alive! presents: The Many Faces of Love

Berkshire Pulse faculty member Ian Spencer Bell will be performing Lori Belilove’s staging of Isadora Duncan’s Brahms Waltzes, The Many Faces of Love. The performance will take place on at 6:30pm on August 3rd & 4th at ChesterwoodBell dances the 110-year-old solo in the garden where Duncan herself danced for the French Family. 

Belilove, artistic director of Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation and Company, is a third-generation Duncan dancer and “the best, most devoted Duncan dancer in America” according to Dance Magazine. Pianist Lauren Aloia accompanies Bell. Also on the program is a new dance and poetry piece by Bell titled Rosing. An artist talk and champagne reception follows each performance.

Tickets are free for people under 21 years old, $15 for adults, $10 for Chesterwood members, and can be purchased at ianspencerbell.com

There’s Still Time to Sign Up for Our Ballet Intensive!

August 1st-6th

(Monday thru Saturday)

9am-3:30pm

Group 1: advanced beginner/intermediate, ages 11-13

Group 2: intermediate/advanced dancers, ages 14+

Daily classes include ballet technique, pointe/pre-pointe/traditional male ballet technique, partnering, pilates, and artistry and variations. The program culminates with an informal sharing for families on the last day. 

Challenging all facets of the student’s artistry, our faculty will meet each artist where they are to refine their technical skills, strength, musicality, and foster their dynamic artistry. This year, our weeklong program will be led by a lineup of incredible teaching artists, including…  

We will also have two special guest speakers, Victoria Guy & Beth LaPierre.  

(*SPECIAL OFFER! Adults who wish to participate in just morning ballet are welcome to do so, as long as they are willing to commit to the full week of classes. Sign up here.)    

Our Studios Are Buzzing with Summer Intensives!

Summer Intensive season is finally in full swing! Here’s just a taste of what our jam-packed July schedule looks like: 

  • We are just wrapping up a fun, engaging, and challenging week of our Dance Discovery session.   
  • Our Hip Hop Intensive begins next week, which we couldn’t be more excited about. (Want to join? Scroll down for more info.) 
  • Our Contemporary Intensive starts on July 18th. Due to popular demand, we’ve decided to open up our Contemporary Intensive—as well as our August Ballet Intensive—to adults who are willing to commit to the entire program. If you’re interested, please feel welcome! 

Want to participate in any of our intensives? Click below to learn more and register!  

SPECIAL OFFER!

Adult dancers (18+) can now join individual morning or afternoon classes from the summer Ballet, Contemporary, and Hip Hop/Street Styles Intensives!

This is a great option for adult dancers who can’t commit to a full day program, but crave a semi-intensive dance experience. Participants are required to commit to the daily class for the entire duration of the week or 2-week intensive. 

THIS SUNDAY! Authentic Movement Workshop

Sunday July 10th, 1-4:30pm

with Paula Josa-Jones

Authentic Movement is a meditative, intuitive, improvisational movement practice involving a mover and a witness. It is a practice of listening, attunement; slowing and opening to a deeper sensing of body and psyche. It was developed by dancer and psychotherapist Mary Starks Whitehouse, who, following her work with Carl Jung, became curious about moving without intention, or the practice of “waiting to be moved.” 

This simple meditation will provide the container for this workshop for both experienced movers and those who are new to this practice.

STARTS NEXT WEEK! Hip Hop & Street Style Intensive

July 11-15th, 8am-3pm, ages 12-adult

Taught by Andres RamirezKing CharlesKelli Forman, and Jackson Whalan

In this week-long program, students will learn foundational movements and techniques of hip-hop and street style, alongside the cultural meaning and significance of these moves.

The program will create an encouraging space to try out what you learn (and, most importantly, show off your unique style and personality) while freestyling in daily cyphers. Styles will include beginner’s breaking, party grooves, and footwork. 

NOTE: The Celebration Jam and All-Styles Battle has been moved to Friday July 15th at 1pm.

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Classes + Guest Artists!

*Photo credit for featured image: Susan Quinn

Join Us at Chesterwood for Arts Alive!

We are so excited to be opening the Arts Alive Summer 2022 series with dance in celebration of work created by young and emerging choreographers and dancers of the Berkshire Pulse community. The garden landscapes of Chesterwood truly offer endless opportunities for creative inspiration and expression!   

On June 30th from 5-6pm, join us in the studio garden for an evening of dance, poetry, and inspiration expressed in movement, featuring members of the Berkshire Pulse teaching faculty, Young Choreographers Initiative, and contemporary teen and adult dancers. This is a unique opportunity to experience four new works created by young artists inspired by collaboration:  

  • Choreographer and poet Gillian Ebersole joins with dancer Shannon Nulf to explore the intersection of movement, spoken word, and embodied delight for “In the Crook of the Elbow”.
  • Qualia” choreographed by Fiona Scruggs illustrates the cyclical and ephemeral nature of time, space, energy, and chaos and their relationships to our perception of transient experiences. 
  • Unconditional” choreographed by Garet Wierdsma explores the concept of unconditional love: what does it mean to love and be loved unconditionally? Should love ever be truly unconditional? 
  • Red” is inspired by an exercise that choreographer Cecilia Kittross did in Berkshire Pulse’s Young Choreographers Initiative, exploring ways of relating to a chair.  

A facilitated talk back will follow the performance for an opportunity to learn more about choreographers’ process and inspiration for their work. 


Senior Spotlights

We’d like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on our four wonderful seniors who are graduating this year ❤️…  

Cecilia Kittross

“Dance has always felt natural to me, as communication, as expression, as an escape from the world. When I first stepped in the front door of Berkshire Pulse at 11 years old, I was overwhelmed. I was joining halfway through the year, so everyone in my classes already knew each other and I felt like an outsider. Even the studios themselves were larger and brighter than any I had seen before. But by the end of my first class, I already felt a sense of belonging.

The Pulse community is truly what makes this place special. I am endlessly grateful for the support I’ve received and the connections I have made. Every teacher I’ve had at Pulse has taught me new ways to challenge myself, and continues to influence my dancing today. I will be attending Vassar College in the fall, where I plan to continue dancing as much as possible. Though it hurts to leave behind something that has such a huge fixture in my life, I feel comforted by the knowledge that I will always be welcome at Berkshire Pulse. No matter how far I go, it will always be a home to me.”

Keely O’Gorman

“At 5 years old, dance became my first introduction to the stage and performing. Ever since that first class, I knew that I loved the technique, drive, and creative freedom that dance gave me. I didn’t start coming to Pulse until I was 12 and wished that I had come to this studio earlier. At Pulse, I have been equally challenged and supported my teachers, classmates and staff.

An important lesson I have learned as a dancer is how to communicate your feelings and thoughts through movement. Talking and words are a very important tool for communication, but so much can be said from dance and movement as well. At Pulse, I have learned new technique, teamwork, and also to be more confident in myself and my dance.

I would like to give special thanks to Bettina Montano and Tom Masters who have been my teachers for the longest time since I have been at Pulse. They have watched and helped me grow as a dancer throughout these past years and supported me along the way. Lastly, I would like to thank my mom who always encouraged my dreams and has been my number one supporter through all of my endeavors.”

Rubielle Nejaime 

“When I was 11, I became curious about dance. From there, my mom enrolled me into the Foundations class at Berkshire Pulse, and without even realizing it— her decision that day was the start of my dance exploration that would be more transformative than I could have imagined. Thank you, Mom.

In addition to the skill, experience, and knowledge Pulse and the teaching artists here have taught me, I have also gained an unparalleled amount of personal growth. One of the reasons dance interested me as a kid was because, when dancing, I didn’t have to speak. Dance was a way for me to show myself without having to leave my comfort zone or reveal my insecurity around talking. That plan worked out for a little while, but as I matured as a dancer, I was pushed to become more–an artist. My confidence flourished, and I learned the importance of my voice being heard. Berkshire Pulse is a one-of-a-kind place, full of down to earth and inspiring people.

Bettina, thank you for constantly supporting me and pushing me beyond my limits.
You have given me so many opportunities and privileges these past 8 years–including introducing me to a community of dancers and mentors that I have been so lucky to connect with and learn from. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my family for everything they have done to give me this unforgettable experience and to every single one of my teachers that helped me to become who I am today.

Next year, I will continue training at Berkshire Pulse to prepare to audition into a Bachelors of Fine Arts Dance program while also pursuing Business and Fashion. Last year, my senior year was postponed because of the pandemic, but I am beyond grateful to be performing my solo on stage today and have the moment my 11-year-old self dreamed of.”

Fiona Mathews

“When I first started dancing at age three, I thought of ballet class as a fun place to put on a pink leotard and move around with my friends. I remember leaping across the room in my tiny ballet slippers, imagining how I would look doing the same moves many years later. Now, I’m graduating high school, but I still feel a bit like that little girl in a tulle skirt. I don’t take ballet classes anymore, instead exploring modern and tap, but I still find the same joy in moving and dancing and just letting my body be free.

I’ve only danced at Berkshire Pulse for two years, but those two years have been full of exploring different modes of dance, becoming more comfortable moving in my body, and really just having fun. At first, I was nervous about joining a new studio, but I was quickly welcomed into the Pulse family.

I want to say a huge thank you to all of the teachers I’ve had, the classmates I’ve danced with, and my friends and family. Next year, I can’t wait to keep dancing at Brown University while also exploring all the amazing opportunities college has to offer.”


Join the SuperJournal Series

All are welcome, ages 17+

FREE + ONE DAY ONLY

Wednesday 6/29, 4-5pm

Elizabeth Heller, ERYT-200, has created a unique and transformative class that offers student science-based mindfulness, movement, and journaling tools to boost physical and emotional wellbeing.

Through a variety of fun and simple practices, Elizabeth leads her students in developing agency in exploring and managing emotion, reducing anxiety, building self-awareness and focus, and the ability to create positive life changes after traumatic events, including the ongoing pandemic.

Students can expect to have fun, move their bodies, laugh, breathe, journal—and explore their own power to heal and create wellbeing!

Summer Starts Now!

Yes, we know summer technically starts June 21st. But with so many fun events going on this weekend—like Jacob’s Pillow Community Day—along with the start of our summer session on Monday, we can’t help but feel that a fantastic summer is already ramping up!  

By the looks of it, it’s going to be a summer season for the books…     

Join Us This Saturday at Jacob’s Pillow Community Day

Come out to Jacob’s Pillow this Saturday for a FREE family-friendly day of performances, fun activities, and workshops!  

Enjoy a showing of beautiful outdoor performances by Pulse students from Modern 3, Contemporary 4, and the Young Choreographers Initiative. There will also be performances by Pulse teaching artists Gillian EbersoleFern Katz, and Andres Ramirez (Funk Box Dance Studio).   

All-level workshops will be available throughout the day, including classes led by Pulse teaching artists Luana Dias David and Madeline Despres-Chen. It’s not to be missed!   

Summer Classes Start Monday

This session kicks off with a lineup of special guest teachers…

Contemporary – 6-7:15pm on Mondays

6/13, 6/20 & 6/27 with Sayer Mansfield

Ballet – 10-11:30am on Saturdays

6/18 with Sophie Alpern

6/25 with Moscelyne ParkeHarrison

Contemporary – 11:45-1:45pm on Saturdays

6/18 & 6/25 with  Moscelyne ParkeHarrison

And lastly, a very special thank you… to all who attended our Moving Life Stories Celebration last week. Thank you for making it an unforgettable evening of dance, food, sharing, and community! We look forward to seeing you again in the fall.

Our Spring Celebration Is This Weekend!

Our annual Spring Celebration is this weekend! If you haven’t grabbed your tickets yet, there is still time. We can’t wait to see you there!

All tickets are general admission and available on a first come, first served basis. 100% of the proceeds will benefit our Tuition Assistance program. 

💗 Sponsor Spotlight

We are so grateful to our generous sponsors for making this year’s performance celebration possible. 

  • Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • Berkshire Food Co-op
  • Tall Tree Productions
  • The UltraWellness Center – Dr. Mark Hyman
  • Alan & Benès Glackman, C.P.A., P.C.
  • Claudia & Joe Gold
  • Diane Pearlman & Jeff Diamond  

-Mark Your Calendars-

FREE Moving Life Stories Performance Next Week!  

Join us for the closing celebration of Moving Life Stories at 5:30pm on June 1st at Chesterwood. It will be an evening rich in community, food, dance, storytelling, and more. All are welcome—and the event is free!    


Upcoming Workshops

*Super Journal Series: Move, Draw & Write to Boost Your Best Self

with Elizabeth Heller

This unique + transformative class offers students science-based mindfulness, movement, and journaling tools to boost their physical and emotional wellbeing. In a safe container for exploration + connection, participants will practice tools to help them manage the contemporary world while cultivating joy and freedom.

Students can expect to have fun, move their bodies, laugh, breathe, journal, and explore their own power to heal and create wellbeing!

Registration for this class is open & free, with a suggested $10 donation. 

Wednesdays in June, 4pm-5pm

June 1 & 8 – ages 8-11 

June 15 & 22 – ages 12-16

June 29 – ages 17+


*A Taste of Spain: Flamenco Workshop

with Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson

Saturday 6/11 & Sunday 6/12

All levels, ages 18+

9:30-11 am – For absolute beginners

11:15-12:45 pm – For people with Flamenco experience


Our Summer Session Begins June 13! 

Online registration opens June 1. In-person registration begins June 2. Head over to our website to see a preliminary list of available youth and community classes.  

For the remainder of the spring session, the following community classes are available for in-person, drop-in registration:   

5/26: Ballet Zen with Melissa Elstein 

5/26 & 5/27: Shake Your Soul with Madeline Despres-Chen

5/28: Adv. Beginner/Intermediate Ballet with Shannon Nulf  

Discover Our Two New Wellness Programs!

To support our collective recovery from the last two years, we’re expanding our community class offerings to include two NEW programs that promote mental health and wellness!

Super Journal Series: Move, Draw & Write to Boost Your Best Self

with Elizabeth Heller

*Wednesdays in June*

This unique + transformative class offers students science-based mindfulness, movement, and journaling tools to boost their physical and emotional wellbeing. In a safe container for exploration + connection, participants will practice tools to help them manage the contemporary world while cultivating joy and freedom.

Students can expect to have fun, move their bodies, laugh, breathe, journal, and explore their own power to heal and create wellbeing!

Registration for this class is open & free, with a suggested $10 donation.

Therapeutic Movement Education Classes for the Special Child

with Sara Kiesel

*Coming Fall 2022*

With deep respect for the journey of the child whose perceptions and abilities are undeveloped and getting in their way​, Sara offers individual and small group classes​ ​that develop skills in communication, behavioral skills management, and social/emotional interactions.

Classes will explore body parts, spatial relationships, and basic dance elements relating to time​, rhythm, flow and breath​. We will develop skills in listening and concentration while exploring imagery and ​simple dancemaking. 


Have You Bought Your Big Y Community Bag?

A quick reminder! Throughout the entire month of April, each time you purchase a $2.50 Community Bag at the Big Y in Great Barrington, Berkshire Pulse will receive a $1 donation.

The Community Bags are located on displays around the store and at the checkout. Please spread the word with your friends and family!


PHOTO: (From left to right) Tom Truss, Matthew Cumbie, and Jake Blount in the final Act of ReWritten, performed in the barn at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead during the summer of 2021. Photo by Jana Laiz.

Support ReWritten!

After a successful site-specific performance at Arrowhead last summer, Pulse artists in-residence—including very own Tom Truss and co-creator Matthew Cumbie—are back at it again with ReWritten.

ReWritten is a work-in-progress that reflects on the often-overlooked intimate relationship between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne as a way to explore queerness, history, intimacy, writing and self-expression. The team will be performing at Arrowhead again this summer, as well as traveling to Paris to share their work with the Melville Society!  

The ReWritten team needs help in raising $10,000 to grow and support the development of the staged version of ReWritten. The first 10 people to donate $100 will be invited to a live advance Zoom screening of a special screen dance, filmed in Herman Melville’s writing studio (where he wrote Moby Dick) and on the grounds of Arrowhead!

Learn more and donate at the link below and mark your calendars—you’ll be able to see ReWritten performed at Arrowhead the last 2 weeks of July!


REMINDER: April Break Is Next Week!

All Youth classes are on break. The following community classes are also on break for the week and will resume after the 22nd:

* Ballroom Dance will not run this Friday April 15th, but class will resume on April 22nd.

All other community classes will continue as usual!

We’ve Been Chosen for the Big Y Community Bag!

Throughout the entire month of April, each time you purchase a $2.50 Community Bag at the Big Y in Great Barrington, Berkshire Pulse will receive a $1 donation. This is a great way to support the environment while also supporting the accessible arts programming at Berkshire Pulse!

The Community Bags are located on displays around the store and at the checkout. Our goal is to reach 200 bags ($200 in donations), We are confident we can get there with your help!

Starting this Friday, tell your friends and family to grab a Community Bag or two while they’re stocking up on groceries.


Not One, But Two Upcoming Performances!

See some of our inspiring teaching artists perform new works at the Foundry in West Stockbridge this month!

This Friday, April 1st…

Qualia

New work by Fiona Scruggs

“Qualia” is a multi-piece work that illustrates the concept of qualia, which is defined as one’s own individual experience and consciousness. “Qualia” illustrates the cyclical and ephemeral nature of time, space, and energy and their relationships to our perception of transient experiences.

Research for this performance includes Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory (1931), Giorgio De Chirico’s metaphysical paintings, essays and articles expounding on the relationship between time and history, and the artists’ unique personal perceptions of time, space, and energy.

Next Friday, April 8th…

In the Crook of the Elbow

New work by Gillian Ebersole + Shannon Nulf

In the Crook of the Elbow asks the question “What is dance if not joy?” Choreographer and poet Gillian Ebersole joins with dancer Shannon Nulf to explore the intersection of movement, spoken word, and embodied delight.


REMINDER: April Break Is 4/16 – 4/22

All Youth classes are on break. Announcements regarding Community Classes will go out to individual classes.

Meet Our Spring ’22 Class Assistants!

With limited class sizes for the past two years, we are so pleased to to announce that our Class Assistants Program is back!

This spring, seven upper level students have volunteered to assist our teaching artists in their weekly classes throughout the season. This program is just one of the ways we support creative youth development—and we are so happy that it’s back in action!

Ready to meet our wonderful Spring 2022 class assistants?

Eva Sophia

Assisting: Intro to Dance

Hi! My name is Eva. I have been dancing for ten and a half years. I started dancing at Pulse when I was seven. My favorite classes are Jazz and Ballet. The thing I love the most about dancing at pulse is the welcoming community, they are like a second family to me.

Rubielle Nejaime

Assisting: Foundations

I am a senior at Berkshire Pulse, and have been a part of the Pulse community for eight years. Now, I have the pleasure to assist the Foundations class, while watching them find their artistic ability.

Maya Bergman

Assisting: Creative Dance and Tumbling

My name is Maya. I’ve been dancing for ten years and I’ve been a 

dancer at Berkshire Pulse for three years.

Lelia Belle

Assisting: Beginners Ballet and Ballet 1

I began my dancing journey in 2018 when I was eight with Intro to Dance Class and loved it, diving deeper each year in exploring the many classes Berkshire Pulse has to offer. I am happy to lend a helping hand and dancing feet to the studio!  

Lily Reynolds

Assisting: Creative Dance

Hi I’m Lily Reynolds! I’m a high school student and have been dancing for 13 years now. Can’t wait to see the growth in the students!

Cecilia Kitross

Assisting: Modern 1

I’ve been taking classes at Berkshire Pulse for 6 years, and I’ve been a part of the Young Choreographers Initiative since 2018. Right now, I’m assisting the Modern I class taught by Susan Quinn.

Liam Reynolds

Assisting: Modern 3

Liam has been dancing since he was 4 yrs old….and has now combined his love of dance and musical theatre. When he’s not in a studio at Berkshire Pulse he’s in rehearsals in NYC for a new adventure. 

Let’s Swing!

Get your jitterbug on in our new ballroom dance class, Intro to East Coast Swing!

Led by Alex Bloomstein, this class is designed for people who have never taken a partnering ballroom class before. The class will introduce the participants to ballroom partnering and basic East Coast Swing steps. The goal is to give participants the confidence to step out onto a dance floor with a partner, relax, and have fun dancing.

Classes start March 18th, and full six week participation is strongly recommended. Students should sign up with a partner (contact us if you’d like to take this class but don’t have a partner and we will pair you with one).

Ballroom Dance: Intro to East Coast Swing

Open level, ages 16+

Fridays, 6-7pm

March 18 – April 29


NEW: Creative Dance for Ages 4-6

with Sara Kiesel

Ages 4-6

Mondays, 3:45-4:45pm

April 4 – May 23

In addition to our Saturday classes with Erin, we’re adding a new session of Creative Dance on Monday afternoons! Led by Sara Kiesel, this class encourages the joy of movement and imagination through a playful and guided approach to shape, rhythm, balance, flow, and locomotor skills. Lively music, stories, and imagery are key elements of this class.

Learn more and sign your little one up here.


Upcoming Workshop: Broadway Jazz

with Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

Open level, ages 16+

Fridays, 6-7pm

March 18 – April 29

Ilana Ransom-Toeplitz’s Broadway Jazz Workshop is just around the corner—and it’s sure to be a fun, laughs, good time!

This one day workshop focuses on jazz style, technique, interpretation, and quality—with exclusive access to a “behind the scenes” look at what it’s like to work on Broadway. Designed to support students with all levels of experience, Ilana emphasizes work ethic, commitment, individuality and focuses on bringing the best out of each student.

The workshop is just around the corner—on April 2nd. Learn more and save your spot here!


Summer Intensive Registration Now Is Open!

Check out our ballet, contemporary, hip hop, Dance Discovery, and Rhythm Alive programs—it is shaping up to be a phenomenal summer already!

Find Your Voice in Our Upcoming Workshop

Lovers of singing and theater—find your unique voice in our next one day workshop in our spring series!

On Saturday March 5th, bring a song and a sense of play to Lauren Berkman’s Acting Your Song workshop. In this workshop, you’ll explore games, ideas, and tools to help strengthen your confidence as a performer and a storyteller. Participants will work on understanding the meaning of their song of choice as text—and then dive deep into storytelling through acting and voice work.

This all day workshop (from 10am-5pm) will take place at Simon’s Rock and is open to all levels, ages 14+. Click below to read the full summary, view the workshop schedule, and register. (Space is limited!)

And a huge thank you to all who made last weekend’s workshop with Christal Brown such a success!


📣 A Few Class Updates

NEW DAY!

Brazilian Percussion Ensemble

Starting March 5th, class is moved to Saturdays from 3:15-4:15—right before Capoeira. Make sure you’ve signed up! (And note: there’s no class this week.)

NEW CLASS!

Ballroom Dance: Intro to East Coast Swing

We couldn’t be more excited to be offering ballroom dance this season. More details coming soon, so stay tuned!


Enjoy This Original Song Written for Pulse!

We are honored to share that local composer Joseph Gold composed a song for Pulse! Listen to the song below and be sure to check out his other work.

“I composed the upbeat ‘Joyful Beats, Joyous Pulse‘ as an homage to Berkshire Pulse, the fabulous dance and creative arts organization.”

— Joseph Gold

Berkshire Pulse