National Dance Presenters Forum

National Dance Presenters Forum

Jacob’s Pillow, in partnership with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), invites early career dance presenters to apply for an immersive professional development experience to:

  • Strengthen curatorial practice in dance
  • Discuss critical issues facing the dance field
  • Learn about and share audience engagement strategies
  • Explore collaborative strategies to support choreographic development
  • Strengthen professional networks

The Forum experience will take the shape of a learning cohort, wherein participants, facilitators, presenters, and virtual panelists will interrogate and contribute perspectives on the evolving state of 21st-century dance presenting.

Immersed within Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, participants have access to all Festival programming, unparalleled Archives that chronicle over 87 years of history, and an international community of, students, dancers, choreographers, scholars, arts professionals, and audience members. Home to America’s longest-running dance festival, Jacob’s Pillow has been a leader in presenting dance across genres for decades and is widely considered one of the most active sites for dance research, development, and performance in the United States.

The cohort will use the lessons learned and the challenges and opportunities identified through recent initiatives and reports as launching points for discussion and reflection. These will include Moving Dance Forward: NEFA’s National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends report; The Black Report by the International Association of Blacks in Dance; The Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the U.S. by AXIS Dance; South Arts Dance Touring Initiative; and Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences.

“We need a platform where presenters can learn how to advocate for artists and build networks and partnerships to support their career trajectory.”

The Forum was first established at Jacob’s Pillow in August 1996 and was held annually through 2006, and widely recognized for its lasting impact on the professional development of performing arts presenters and the national growth and interest in the presentation and touring of dance. The Forum returned in 2018 in response to field-wide demand and in support of the Pillow’s commitment to facilitate and host discourses in dance development as outlined in its five-year strategic plan, Vision ‘22.

Read more about the Forum in this Press Release.


 Lead funding for this initiative comes from The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP). Additional support provided by Dance/USA, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and South Arts with curriculum support provided by the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

2018 Forum Participants
Top Row L to R: Aisha Ahmad-Post, Christopher Morgan, Kai Hazelwood, Malik Robinson, Christopher Heacox, Brent Woods
Middle Row L to R: Erin Lesure, Jack McLarnan, Francis Weiss Rabkin (Documentation), Adam Castaneda
Bottom Row L to R: Julie Akerly, yon Tande (né Whitney V. Hunter), Linda (Lulu) Lucero, Micah Ariel James, Tara Aisha Willis, Rosemary Gill, Lexie Thrash (Project Assistant), Krista Bradley (APAP), Jennifer Calienes (Program Consultant), Norton Owen (Jacob’s Pillow), Cheri Oppenheimer (NEFA)
Not pictured: Kristin Stake, Jacqueline Hall Handy