Jacob's Pillow On Line

Offering Curated Selection of PillowTalks

By: - Oct 15, 2010


Jacob’s Pillow Dance, international arts presenter and home of America’s longest-running dance festival, now offers a curated online selection of informative and entertaining PillowTalks.  Based in Becket, Mass., Jacob’s Pillow hosts more than 160 free pre-show talks, post-show interviews, and hour-long PillowTalks during its annual Festival.  PillowTalks are a series of hour-long moderated discussions with choreographers, performers, historians, filmmakers, and experts in the arts and related fields.   To date, online offerings include excerpts and full-length talks with legendary dance photographer Lois Greenfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and cartoonist Jules Feiffer, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem Virginia Johnson, noted art historian Richard Kendall, and leading fair use legal expert Peter Jaszi, with many more on the way.
The Pillow’s distribution partner,, is an online video forum that boasts one of the world’s largest video collections from talks, lectures, debates, think tanks, and conferences. was a named one of’s “Best 50 Websites of 2009.”  Jacob’s Pillow joins other prestigious content partners including The Asia Society, C-SPAN, The Brookings Institution, Harvard University, The New York Public Library, Georgetown University, and the World Affairs Council.  To visit Jacob’s Pillow’s content channel on

 "Our PillowTalks help audience members, from novice to aficionado, gain insight into dance and related topics. We're delighted we can now share highlights of these events with a much wider audience,” comments Connie Chin, Jacob’s Pillow General Manager and director of the Virtual Pillow initiative.  “The selections now available on have been carefully chosen to reach individuals with a variety of interests, not just dance lovers.  We want to draw as many people as possible into the conversation and offer them our most stimulating content." hosts more than 10,000 online videos from 160 partner organizations.  They serve more than 2 million streams per month, 41% of which are overseas. also distributes to other partner outlets including , YouTube, and AOL Video.
Communicating with audiences through the spoken word has been an essential part of Pillow programming ever since founder Ted Shawn first welcomed spectators into the studio to see his company of Men Dancers in 1933. Lauded as “the dance center of the nation and possibly the world” (Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times) and “one of America’s most precious cultural assets” (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Jacob’s Pillow presents more than 300 free and ticketed performances, talks, and events every year.  PillowTalks are a key aspect of the Pillow's extensive Audience Engagement Program, launched in 1996 and directed since 2000 by Director of Preservation Norton Owen.  Other components of this program are free pre-show talks presented by Scholars-in-Residence before each Pillow performance, post-show discussions offered onstage once each week for all ticketed presentations, free performances on the outdoor Inside/Out stage, community events, and specially-commissioned program essays for all printed programs. 
Every Jacob’s Pillow event, performance, and talk is filmed by the Pillow’s documentation staff (in high-definition video starting in 2010) and housed in the Pillow’s extensive Archives, which date back to the early 1900s and are free and open to the public year-round.  Online distribution allows a portion of the Archives’ video holdings to be shared with a larger international community. 
Jacob’s Pillow content on and other online distribution sites is part of a new initiative, Virtual Pillow, aiming to build a new constituency for dance and Jacob’s Pillow. Funding for Virtual Pillow is provided by the “Leading for the Future Initiative” a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Current Jacob’s Pillow talks on
·         Fair is Fair: Copyright Act and the Fair Use Doctrine
o    Speakers: Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law (American University); Dean Jeffrey, American Dance Festival Director of Archives and Preservation; Norton Owen, Jacob’s Pillow Director of Preservation; and Philip Szporer, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o    Length: 56:38
·         Richard Kendall: Picasso Looks at Degas
o    Speakers: Richard Kendall, Curator at Large for the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; Johannes Öhman, Artistic Director of The Göteborg Ballet of Sweden; and Nancy Wozny, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o    Length: 9:53
* Lois Greenfield: The Anticipatory Art Form of Photography
o Speakers: Lois Greenfield, renowned dance photographer; Kyle Abraham, choreographer and Artistic Director of Abraham.In.Motion; and Rachel Straus, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 21:42
* Barak Marshall: Dance Bridging Cultures
o Speakers: Barak Marshall, musician, choreographer and director from Israel; and Maura Keefe, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 2:52
·         3D Dance Filmmaking with Mouvement Perpétuel
o Speakers: Filmmakers Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer; and Maura Keefe, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 6:13
* Tap: Cutting Edge American Dance Form
o Speakers: Constance Valis Hill, author and performance studies scholar; Dianne Walker, Artistic Director of TapDancin' Inc. and award-winning dance pioneer; Derick K. Grant, performer, choreographer, and director; and Maura Keefe, Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 5:02
* Virginia Johnson: Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Giselle
o Speakers: Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem; and Constance Valis Hill, Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 4:46
* Karole Armitage: Dancing Through Theoretical Physics
o Speakers: Karole Armitage, choreographer, Artistic Director of Armitage Gone! Dance; Anna-Marie Holmes, internationally acclaimed dance luminary, director of the Ballet Program at The School at Jacob’s Pillow
o Length: 2:57
* Rodgers and Hammerstein in the 21st Century
o Speakers: Theodore S. Chapin, President and Executive Director of Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization: An Imagem Company; and Suzanne Carbonneau, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o Length: 8:08
·         Jules Feiffer: Confessions in Print
o    Speakers: Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and cartoonist; Norton Owen, Jacob's Pillow Director of Preservation; and  Maura Keefe, Jacob's Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o    Length: 5:56
·         Classical South Indian Dance and Western Audiences
o    Speakers: Savitry Nair, Kuchipudi master performer and teacher; Shantala Shivalingappa, acclaimed Kuchipudi performer; and Suzanne Carbonneau, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o    Length: 7:48
·         Bebe Miller: Motion Capture as Choreographic Tool
o    Speakers: Bebe Miller, choreographer; and Suzanne Carbonneau, Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence
o    Length: 5:10
About Founded in 2005, is the leading site for intelligent video programs on the people, issues, and ideas changing the world. Offering free, paid-membership, and fee-based videos, has partnered with organizations including the Aspen Institute, Georgetown University, Wired, and The Economist, helping these organizations reach engaged audiences. Named one of the “Best 50 Websites of 2009,” by and a “Top Education Site” by The Telegraph, the company has also been covered by Fast Company, The Boston Globe, and many others. is funded by a select group of investors led by William R. Hearst III and is based in San Francisco.