Dances of a planet

Vanaver Caravan premiere closes out Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival season next week in MA

by Frances Marion Platt
August 19, 2010 02:09 PM | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
photo of dancer Isabel Cottingham
photo of dancer Isabel Cottingham
After an 18-year hiatus, Ulster County’s favorite world dance troupe, the Rosendale-based Vanaver Caravan, is returning next week to its “second home” at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts. Their premiere of EarthBeat! a Journey will run from Wednesday, August 25 through Sunday, August 29, closing the Jacob’s Pillow summer season.

The production reunites Bill and Livia Vanaver and their company with an old friend: Lisa Channer, currently associate professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota and winner of a 2010 Fulbright fellowship for her Russian/American artistic collaborations through Theatre Novi Most, will co-direct EarthBeat! Channer’s mother Eileen, longtime assistant to the dean of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY-New Paltz, played a key role in relocating the Vanavers to Ulster County in the 1970s and served on the Caravan’s board of directors while young Lisa was a dance student.

EarthBeat! will feature live original choreography by La Conja and Kantham Chatlapalli and music by Bill Vanaver, Andy Teirstein, Toby Stover and Fode Sissoko. Dancers will include Brazilian Capoeirista Gustavo Caldas, Riverdance alumnus Joel Hanna, world champion Lindy hoppers Nathan Bugh and Ramona Staffeld, Guatemalan hip-hop dancer Edwin Fion, flamenco dancers Anna Mazo and Barbara Martinez, international aerial dancer David Pakenham, Rachel Prince and Isabel Cottingham. 

For tickets, visit the Jacob’s Pillow website at For more information about the Vanaver Caravan, visit

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