Talks & Tours


PillowTalks are a curated series of entertaining and informative discussions with choreographers, writers, filmmakers, and cultural experts.

Moderated by Pillow Scholars, PillowTalks provide an excellent opportunity to gain behind-the-scenes insight. The hour-long PillowTalks are held Fridays at 5pm and Saturdays at 4pm at Blake’s Barn (next to the Box Office), and are free and open to the public.

Check out this past season’s PillowTalk series topics below:

Festival 2019 PillowTalks

Emily Molnar’s Decade

Friday, June 21 at 5pm

In celebration of her 10 years leading Ballet BC, Emily Molnar discusses her various roles as dancer, choreographer, and director, and her plans for the future.

Charles Reinhart Returns

Saturday, June 22 at 4pm

The longtime director of American Dance Festival directed Jacob’s Pillow in 1974 and managed publicity here in the 1960s, returning now with stories to tell.

¡Viva Spanish Dance!

Friday, June 28 at 5pm

Two illustrious artists on The School’s faculty for the Pillow’s Flamenco & Spanish Dance Program, Carmela Greco and Carmen Ledesma, celebrate the glories of their extraordinary art form.

In-Process Film Screening: PS DANCE! The Next Generation

Saturday, June 29 at 4pm

Following Nel Shelby’s award-winning documentary on dance in public schools, her new film with Executive Producer Jody Gottfried Arnhold spotlights Ann Biddle and The Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) PVPA Program, a partner to the Pillow’s engagement efforts. The film is funded by the Arnhold Foundation.

Merce Cunningham: Loops

Friday, July 5 at 5pm

Digital artists Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie demonstrate and discuss a virtual reality work they created using Cunningham’s own words and movement, celebrating Merce Cunningham’s Centennial.

Dancing with Merce Cunningham

Saturday,  July 6 at 4pm

Marianne Preger-Simon danced with Cunningham for eight years, including the company’s first two Pillow appearances in the 1950s, which she details in her new book.

Movers & Shakers

Friday, July 12 at 5pm

Hancock Shaker Village curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo and choreographer Reggie Wilson discuss Wilson’s exploratory research on black Shakers and the new dance inspired by this work.

Remembering Arthur Mitchell

Saturday, July 13 at 4pm

On the eve of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 50th anniversary, director Virginia Johnson and original dancer Gayle McKinney Griffith remember the company’s Pillow debut and the man who made it all possible.

Mark Morris: A Life in Dance

Friday, July 19 at 5pm

From early dance studies in Seattle and starting a New York career at nineteen, Mark Morris looks ahead to his company’s 40th anniversary in 2020.

Physics & Dance

Saturday, July 20 at 4pm

Dancer/choreographer Emily Coates and physicist Sarah Demers, both Yale faculty members, create a dialogue between art and science in a new book about their two disciplines.

The Art & Science of Partnering

Friday, July 26 at 5pm

Canadian dancer/teacher Sylvain Lafortune and Boston-based artist/researcher Ilya Vidrin are both examining the role of partnering in dance, sharing their approaches in this collaborative conversation. This performance is part of  Partnering & Science Lab: Reciprocity Collaborative. Learn more about the series and full schedule of events here.

Paul Taylor’s New Directions

Saturday, July 27 at 4pm

In a forward-looking move before his death this year, Paul Taylor designated dancer Michael Novak as his successor, and Novak now talks about what’s ahead.

Dawn of THE DAY

Friday, August 2 at 5pm

The three powerhouse artists involved in this week’s premiere of THE DAY dancer Wendy Whelan, musician Maya Beiser, and choreographer Lucinda Childsdiscuss its genesis.

Dance We Must: Another Look

Saturday, August 3 at 4pm

Changing attitudes about world cultures and gender roles are brought into focus by the current exhibit of costumes and artifacts, discussed here from various angles. Speakers include exhibit curators Norton Owen and Patsy Gay, Shawn biographer Paul Scolieri, and choreographer/performer Lionel Popkin.

Isadora Duncan Forever

Friday, August 9 at 5pm

America’s pioneering modern dancer is saluted by Lori Belilove of the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, keeper of the flame for generations of aspiring young artists.

Indigenous Dance

Saturday, August 10 at 4pm

Sandra Laronde of Red Sky Performance compares notes with Hawaiian Christopher K. Morgan, exploring the challenges of maintaining Indigenous dance traditions in today’s increasingly diverse world. This talk is part of The Land on Which We Dance. Learn more about the series and full schedule of events here.

Talking Tap

Friday, August 16 at 5pm

As co-directors of the Pillow’s new Tap Program, Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia take the pulse of what’s happening today—in the studio and onstage.

Martha Graham’s EVE Project

Saturday, August 17 at 4pm

Commemorating the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote, Artistic Director Janet Eilber discusses commissioning female choreographers and celebrating Martha Graham‘s complex and powerful women.

Laura Young: Boston Ballerina

Friday, August 23 at 5pm

Janine Parker’s book about Laura Young explores her triumphs as a leading light of Boston Ballet during its formative years, and they both tell the story here.

Mikko Nissinen in Boston

Saturday, August 24 at 4pm

As Artistic Director of Boston Ballet since 2001, Nissinen has literally brought the company into the 21st century, with a vitality now on full display.

PillowTalks Online

A growing selection of PillowTalk video excerpts are available online at PillowTV, Jacob's Pillow's YouTube Channel.

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Wendy Whelan & Brian Brooks; photo Hayim Heron