Spirits of Chesterwood

August 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th at 5:30pm

Rain date: Sunday, August 18th

Audience on Chesterwood lawn watching one of the performances
Photo by: Eric Limon Photography

Spirits of Chesterwood is an intergenerational dance project created by six local choreographers in the Berkshire Pulse community. This roving, site-specific performance will be presented as a part of Chesterwood’s Arts Alive! series.

The performance will happen once each day, to allow an intimate group of audience members to follow the performers along the route. In case of rain, this show will be performed on Sunday, August 18. If more than one show gets cancelled, we will transfer tickets until we are at capacity and then refunds will be given. 

Upcoming Summer Intensives

Dance Adventure Intensive – (July 22 – 26) ages 4 to 7

Hip Hop & Street Style Intensive – (July 29 – August 2) – ages 10 to adult

Musical Theater Intensive – (August 5 – August 10) – ages 10 to adult

*Registrations will be accepted until the Friday before each intensive.

Welcoming our First Executive Director

Dear Pulse Community,

I am writing to share exciting news – we have started planning for the future with an expansion initiative and have begun by hiring our first-ever Executive Director to accompany me in leadership of the organization. Abigail (Abi) Rollins will join Berkshire Pulse on July 15th!

Pulse has grown exponentially: increased community demand, regional expansion, and an ever-growing list of diverse offerings in the creative arts. Pulse will continue to expand in every way, and Abi will help us manage our growth in a way that stays true to our mission.

Abi Rollins joins Pulse from Berkshire Opera Festival, where she has served as Executive Director since 2019. Abi moved to the Berkshires from Boston, where she held the positions of General Manager and later Managing Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, for a total of nine years. She honed her many skills in arts administration through positions at Trisha Brown Dance Company, Lyric Stage Company, and Boston Ballet, among others. She has an MA in Arts Administration from Boston University, and a double-major undergraduate degree in Dance and Psychology from Kenyon College. 

At Pulse, Abi will drive strategic and business planning as well as development, and will oversee day-to-day operations including finance, administration, and facility operations. About the role, Abi said “I first began my career specifically with the aim of working with and supporting dance artists. Along the way, I have had many rewarding opportunities outside of dance, gaining real world experience and refining my skills as an arts administrator. I know this is the opportunity I’ve been working towards during my 20+ years of learning and working in dance and arts administration.” Abi first experienced Pulse in early 2023 when she started taking dance classes there after a long hiatus from dancing. She was immediately moved by the warmth and culture of respect for dancers of all abilities and ages and inspired to apply for the Executive Director position when we announced it earlier this winter. 

Our Board President Gail Belmuth said “Pulse has entered a new chapter of strategic growth, and Abi will help us manage that growth while also building for a sustainable future. She is a great addition to a wonderful team.”

While Abi and I will partner in many areas, having an experienced, collaborative partner means that I can turn my attention more fully to my role as Artistic Director, leading Pulse’s mission and artistic vision, curriculum development, and continuing standards of excellence in programming and performance.

Please join me in welcoming Abigail Rollins to the Pulse family!

My Very Best,

Bettina Montano

Artistic Director/Founder

Community Class Highlights

Community Modern – Intermediate+

With Madison Palffy

Intermediate – ages 14 to adult

📆Thursdays 6:00pm-7:30pm, June 6 – August 22 (no class July 4)

Drawing from a variety of modern dance traditions and techniques, this class emphasizes classwork which develops strength, alignment, agility, musicality and versatility of expression.

Classes consist of structured improvisation, inversions and floorwork, exercises to challenge rhythm and musicality, and phrases to encourage students to move in a full bodied physicality that travels through space.

Thank you for another Incredible Spring Celebration!

Thank you to all of our community members, teaching artists, families, and dancers who made our 2024 Spring Celebration a huge success! 

On May 25 & 26, our dancers performed in two sold-out shows at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock. 100% of the proceeds from these performances will benefit our Tuition Assistance program.

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

Alander Construction

Indian Mountain School

Berkshire Waldorf School

The Triplex Cinema

Jacob’s Pillow

Gail Belmuth

Joan & Peter Coombs

Claudia & Joe Gold

Paula Kaplan-Reiss

Bruce Humes/Tall Tree Productions

Diane Pearlman & Jeff Diamond

Charles Ferris and Melissa Mishcon

We would also like to thank the wonderful parents who ran the Bake Sale Committee (and all the families who baked):

Sherri Greenbach, Nuri Héd, Aimee Maddalena, and Renannah Weinstein

Dance Adventure Program

(ages 4-7)

📅 Monday to Friday, July 22 – 26

🕞 9:00am-12:00pm

This program for our youngest dancers invites them on an expedition into the exciting, engaging, and rewarding world of dance. Classes will include creative dance, tumbling, drumming, and more! 

Groovin’ with my Grown-Up

(for ages 10 months – 3 years with caregiver participation)

With Tricia DeSario

📅 Wednesdays, June 26th – July 24th

🕤 9:30am-10:30am

A playful and enriching movement experience for babies, toddlers, and their grownups! Led by Tricia DeSario, an instructor with a background in early childhood development and dance, this program is designed to align with the developmental milestones for ages 10 months-3 years of age.

Dance with Me

(ages 18 months – 3 years with caregiver participation)

with Sarah Daunt

📅 Mondays, June 26th – August 5th (No class July 15th)

🕔 4:45pm – 5:30pm

This creative moving arts class engages children and adults through movement games and obstacle courses. Move and explore kinesthetic learning together. Percussion and other music selections will inspire freedom of expression and exploration of movement for all to enjoy. Bring home a new knowledge of moving through space while fostering and developing new physical and cognitive skills. Everyone is welcome to join in the dance party! 

Pulse is in Performance Mode!

Young Choreographer Performance Recap

GIF dancers performing in a dark room
Photos by Avida Love Photography

On Tuesday May 7th, the Young Choreographers Initiative and Young Choreographers Workshop performed an evening of their work at The Foundry in West Stockbridge.

We would like to congratulate the dancers on an incredible performance! We would also like to give a huge thank you to Amy Brentano and The Foundry for letting us perform at their beautiful venue and Susan Quinn for guiding these dancers.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the West Stockbridge Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, as well as by Berkshire United Way and Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership. Thank you!

Musical Theater Performance Recap

Group of kids in yellow, blue, and red shirts doing their final bows.

Our Musical Theater Collective had an in-studio showing on May 11th, where they performed excerpts from the shows The Sound of Music, Railway Children, The Wizard of Oz, Little Women, and more!

Congratulations to the performers and the teachers, Teak Welch, Wendy Welch, and Tom Masters for an amazing show!

Soul Steps Recap

group of students learning step dance

Maxine Lyle and Soul Steps (a NYC-based dance-theater company) came for a 3 week residency this Spring, teaching the art of African Step Dance to over 100 adults, teens, and youth at Pittsfield High School, Taconic High School, and Berkshire Pulse.

The program consisted of 5 core elements: in-school classes, in-school sharing, studio time for Soul Steps to develop their work, a free community workshop, and a free presentation of excerpts of Step Show: The Musical, highlighting work that was developed during this residency. A student participant reflected, “I wouldn’t change anything. I feel that they are a perfect group.”

We’re so grateful to have this partnership with Soul Steps, which is made possible by NEA Challenge America and a private donor. Thank you!

Creative Movement Residency Recap

Pulse Teaching Artist Molly Hess offered 3 weeks of Creative Dance to Richmond elementary students, featuring a 10-15 minute structured warm up, and lessons that explored dance concepts focusing on Place, Pathway, Relationship, and also bringing in other concepts like level, speed, pattern, and body parts.

Thank you to the amazing students for being so open, creative, and hard working! Everyone had a lot of fun each week and retained a lot from previous weeks, really allowing them to make more complex choices with their explorations.

This program was funded by the Richmond Consolidated Schools and Richmond Education Enrichment Fund. Thank you!

You’re Invited to our Annual Spring Celebration!

Tickets are on sale now for our Spring Celebration, taking place on May 25 & 26 at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock.

All tickets are general admission, and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please note that you will need to purchase tickets to attend a performance, even if a child of yours is performing in the show. If you prefer not to purchase tickets online, please email berkshire.pulse@gmail.com so our staff can make arrangements with you to purchase tickets in-person/over the phone. All proceeds from the Spring Celebration will benefit the Pulse Tuition Assistance program!

*Online ticket sales are open until midnight the night before each performance. Limited tickets may be available at the door, but each performance is expected to sell out and families are encouraged to purchase tickets early.

Innovate, Inspire, Dance!

Berkshire Pulse invites you on Tuesday, May 7 at 6pm to The Foundry for an evening of innovative & inspired dance created and performed by the 2023/2024 members of the Berkshire Pulse Young Choreographers Workshop and Young Choreographers Initiative

This program is a fundraiser for our Diane Pearlman Young Choreographers Initiative Scholarship.

Launched in 2023, this scholarship underwrites the Young Choreographers Initiative tuition for all students, as well as the senior choreography project, providing graduating dancers with the studio space, professional mentorship, and production support needed for the senior solo creative process. Choreographic exploration and process is an essential component of the Pulse Youth Performing Arts Program curriculum, incorporated into classwork beginning at age 6 and continuing with increasing intention as students progress throughout the levels.  

Can’t make the presentation? Support the Diane Pearlman Young Choreographers Initiative Scholarship here.

Come Shake Your Soul!

Shake Your Soul®

with Madeline Despres-Chen

Shake Your Soul® is a movement practice that relaxes the nervous system, energizes the body, and awakens the soul through a fluid dance repertoire set to music from around the world. All levels welcome!

Class typically begins with a Qi Gong warm up followed by movement sequences that help you connect with your fluid nature. The final portion of the class includes creative exercises that allow for individual expression, solo exploration, and moving in pairs or with the group. This class is about feeling and embodying, not about how you or your movement looks. Participants are encouraged to adjust any movement that is offered according to their own needs and level of comfort.

All Levels – Ages 18+ – 📆Thursdays – 5:30 – 6:30pm & 📆Fridays – 9:00 – 10:00am

Thank You Soul Steps!

This past Saturday, April 6th Soul Steps concluded their 3-week artist residency with Berkshire Pulse by teaching a step class and sharing excerpts of their work with our community. During their residency, the company reached approximately 70 students at Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School, leaving a lasting impact on the students. We are incredibly thankful to the Soul Step artists for their care, energy, and inspiration, and we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership next year. Thank you so much, Maxine, Destiny, Daisha, Brandon, and Mark!

Step and Stretch into Spring!

Soul Steps is offering a free Community Workshop and informal presentation of excerpts from their musical “Step Show: The Musical” for ages 10 and up from 1:00-3:00pm on Saturday, April 6th!

Soul Steps is a NYC-based dance-theater company founded in 2005, dedicated to teaching and performing African American step dance. They are in residence at Berkshire Pulse for 3 weeks while they teach step dance in the Pittsfield Public Schools and develop their new musical about the history of step dance.

Want to be a part of the Spring Celebration? Consider becoming a sponsor! Sponsorships help fund our Tuition Assistance Program, which make educational and empowering arts experiences accessible to all.

Yoga is Stretching Out until May!

All Levels Yoga: Lunar New Year’s Series

with Bethany Trozzo

A weekly class series to help students explore their mind-body connection through foundational yoga postures, sequences, and breathing exercises. Focus is on creating safe alignment, cultivating body awareness, and relaxation.

Postures introduced and practiced will include: Sun salutations A/B, chair, downward facing dog, warrior 1 & 2, balancing poses, mountain, spinal twists, savasana, Ujjayi breath, and others. Class themes will focus on connecting with the energy of the Lunar New Year, Year of the Wood Dragon.

Please bring your own yoga mat.

Ages 18+

 📆Tuesdays March 26th – May 7th

🕕5:45pm – 6:45pm

Save the Date for our Annual Spring Celebration!

We’re pleased to announce our annual Spring Celebration will take place on May 25 & 26 at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock.

The Spring Celebration will showcase the work of our Youth Performing Arts Program students, as well as alumni and teachers. 100% of the proceeds from these performances will benefit our Tuition Assistance program.  

More information on the performance and ticket sales coming soon!

Want to be a part of the Spring Celebration? Consider becoming a sponsor! Sponsorships help fund our Tuition Assistance Program, which make educational and empowering arts experiences accessible to all.

Congratulations Bettina!

Bettina has been chosen by the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce for the Women in Leadership Change Maker Award!

The recipients were selected from more than 90 nominations by a non-Board sub-committee, in conjunction with the SBCC Board Programs Committee and then submitted to the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Congratulations Bettina, and all the wonderful leaders in our community who were nominated and awarded this year!

New Opportunities Await at Pulse This March!

Group of students sitting in a semi circle while being read a story

March is almost here, and we are excited to share updates about our Tuition Assistance program!

We are so proud to announce our new partnership with the Wonderfund! The Wonderfund is a nonprofit serving foster children and families engaged with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Families can present their Wonderfund Access Card in-person at Pulse’s Front Desk and fill out a short form to receive an 100% discount on Performing Arts Program Enrollments, Community Classes, and Pulse Summer programs!

New Family Class Passes! These special family passes can be shared by anyone age 13+ living in one household!

Three children sitting at a table doing arts and crafts

Dance Making/Art Making

with Sara Kiesel

This 6-week workshop is designed for students who love to dance and do ART. We will explore how art and dance intersect by dancing and “drawing dance” with different mediums – from simple crayon sketches to more involved projects using paper, collage, and shadow play. Students will sharpen their visual skills, learn to let go of how something is “supposed ” to look, and gain confidence in diving into art while exploring basic elements of dance.

Ages 6-9

 📆Saturdays March 9th – April 13th

 🕘9:00am – 10:00am

All art making materials will be provided!

Residences at Berkshire Pulse

We are so excited to announce our newest residency taking place right now in our studios! Sayer Mansfield and Sydney McManus will be starting their initial research and creation for a contemporary dance theater work. This will be their second creation together, their first work “Jane & Fiona” was created in residence at Berkshire Pulse summer 2022 and has since been performed at The Foundry and Jacobs Pillow.

Want to learn more about residencies at Berkshire Pulse? Artists-in-residence at Pulse have the opportunity to join our community and use the studios on an exchange basis. Pending studio availability and application approval, artists can receive studio time at a discounted rate (or free of charge) in exchange for teaching classes, conducting workshops, presenting in-studio performances or Q&A, or other types of studio work. Artists can also request additional dancers or other Pulse resources, as available. We welcome projects in any stage and wish to support artists who are working towards a performance and artists who have an emphasis on process and experimentation. We always look forward to having new work created and shared in our space!

Berkshire Pulse