Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa in rehearsal at The School at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

Choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa Receives 2019 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award

Jacob’s Pillow—the famous dance school and performance center in Becket, Massachusetts—has named the Colombian Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, who has created more than ninety works for more than fifty major dance companies around the world, the winner of its 2019 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. The $25,000 prize is presented annually to an artist of “exceptional vision and achievement.” Lopez Ochoa will receive the honor at the organization’s season-opening gala on June 15.

“A global citizen, she creates rigorous works of great beauty and intensity in hybrid contemporary and classical ballet vocabularies that enable dancers to truly realize themselves,” Jacob’s Pillow director Pamela Tatge said in a statement. “Ochoa demands that dancers are deeply and unabashedly present, and because of this, the audience cannot help but be drawn to them. We honor her many achievements while investing in the work she has yet to create.”

Lopez Ochoa’s choreographic career began in 2003, after twelve years of performing with several European dance companies. Her work can be found in the repertoire of the New York City Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Washington Ballet, and the English National Ballet, among others. The choreographer’s signature work, Before After, was created for the Dutch National Ballet in 2002 and has been performed at the Dance Passion Festival in the Netherlands, the New York Fall for Dance Festival, and throughout Sweden by the Gothenburg Ballet. Lopez Ochoa also creates work for theater, opera, musical theater, and, in 2006, the celebrated Dutch fashion designers Viktor & Rolf’s project at the Van Gogh Museum.

Lopez Ochoa was on faculty at the School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2016 and will return to direct its Contemporary Ballet Program alongside Luis Torres in 2020. Commenting on the prize, Lopez Ochoa said: “I am deeply moved that my artistic statelessness is being recognized as a strength. What I once considered my greatest challenge turns out to be the reason I was chosen for this year’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. This award encourages me to continue speaking not with one voice, but with many.”


Ballet Hispánico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Línea Recta at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2017. Photo: Christopher Duggan.