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 during the Festival onsite at Blake’s Barn (next to the Box Office). All PillowTalks are free and open to the public.

Past 2023 PillowTalks

Partnering with Mark Morris
Sat., July 1, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Executive Director Nancy Umanoff has been a key administrative partner to Mark Morris for four decades, and their teamwork continues in this freewheeling story hour.

PillowTalk Screening: Just Dance the Steps
Sat., July 8, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
This film documentary on choreographer Hans van Manen celebrates his ongoing work with the Dutch National Ballet, presenting two of his works here in his 91st birthday week.

Welcoming the World
Sun., Jul. 9, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
The three curators of this current exhibition (Norton Owen, Tanisha Jones, and Hari Krishnan) reflect on the many international artists who have traveled here over the decades, influencing and enriching our dance landscape immeasurably.

Dance We Must
Sat., July 15, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
A lavishly illustrated new book documents this 2018 Williams College Museum of Art exhibition, while a current exhibition digs deeper into issues raised by costumes representing diverse cultures.

PillowTalk Screening: PS Dance! THE NEXT GENERATION
Sun., July 16, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Created by filmmaker Nel Shelby and dance ambassador Jody Gottfried Arnhold, this acclaimed documentary follows Ann Biddle as she takes dance into the Northampton public schools.

PillowTalk Screening: Lift
Sat., July 22, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
This award-winning documentary captures dancer/choreographer Steven Melendez from his childhood in a homeless shelter to New York Theatre Ballet, empowering kids like himself through ballet. 87 minutes, followed by Q&A.

Celebrating Katherine Dunham
Sat., July 29, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
As The School at Jacob’s Pillow revisits a 2002 program led by Reginald Yates and Katherine Dunham herself, the lasting impact of this dance legend is spotlighted in a panel discussion.

Hip Hop at 50
Sat., Aug. 5, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
The 50th anniversary of hip hop has focused new attention on this enduring culture and art movement, with a panel of illustrious artists on hand to explore it all.

Envisioning a New Theater
Sat., Aug. 12, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Here’s a rare chance to meet Francine Houben of Mecanoo, the Dutch architect who is entrusted with creating a new Doris Duke Theatre to open in 2025. For more information on our “Envisioning a Theater” exhibit, appearing all summer long in the Ted Shawn Theatre lobby, please visit our Exhibits page.

Dancerly Intelligences
Sun., Aug. 13, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Artists Grisha Coleman, Catie Cuan, and Andrew Schneider are working at the intersection of dance and technology, ending their Pillow residency with this exploration of current projects.

Martha Graham: When Dance Became Modern
Sat., Aug. 19, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Neil Baldwin discusses his new Graham biography, which Dance Magazine calls “challenging and satisfying,” and Oprah Daily considers a “stellar cultural history,” followed by a book signing.

Errand Into the Maze
Sun., Aug. 20, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
Subtitled “The Life and Works of Martha Graham,” Deborah Jowitt’s highly-anticipated biography is previewed in this celebratory event with readings from the final manuscript.

Merce Cunningham’s August Pace
Sat., Aug. 26, 4pm in Blake’s Barn
A 1989 Cunningham dance was recreated thirty years later, with a reconstruction process involving the original cast caught on camera in this revealing documentary.

Watch PillowTalks from Festival 2022: