In a perfect world, everywhere would be Jacob's Pillow. Lush natural surroundings would embrace the soul and stimulate the mind. Patches of wooded countryside would be carefully carved out to provide arenas for dancers to dance and audiences to look on in rapt wonder. The sounds of birds would mingle with the chatter of people coming and going, many carrying simple folding chairs, blanket rolls and backpacks or picnic hampers. There would be no sense of time rushing in any direction and yet there would be eager anticipation of things-to-come.
But this world isn't anything close to perfection. And yet, to have spent an evening in the presence of the Tero Saarinen Company and the Boston Camerata, as they preformed "Borrowed Light" at Jacob's Pillow, was to have savoured what perfection might be. The elusive mystery of art's transforming power embraced the capacity audience, and when the final fadeout was greeted with wild shouts and a standing ovation, all of us knew that this was not an obligatory nod to the Finnish choreographer and his company, making their North American debut (I think that's correct), not to the home-grown Boston Camerata, under the direction and detailed research of Joel Cohen.
No, the response to "Borrowed Light" was the genuine article: an audience lifted to its feet after hearts and minds, souls and spirits had been touched by singular greatness.
Precisely what creates this masterwork doesn't defy explanation, but every effort to lay out the evening, to discuss component parts or specific moments, serves only to diminish the experience.
The dancers, all eight of them, and the seven singers define the essence of ensemble. Complemented by designers Mikki Kunttu (set/lighting), Erika Turunen (costume) and Heikki Iso-Ahola (sound), the visual and aural elements cohere with all else.
Jacob's Pillow continues to lead us forward, bringing us to worlds we haven't known before and working to shape a world where perfection, if not ubiquitous, can still find its place in time.