Jacob's Pillow Hosts National Dance Presenters Forum, Seeks Applicants

Jacob's Pillow, in partnership with The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), invites early career dance presenters to apply for an immersive professional development experience at Jacob's Pillow, July 10-14, 2019. The National Dance Presenters Forum was reinstated in 2018 in response to field-wide interest and in support of the Pillow's renewed commitment to facilitate and host discourses in dance development through its five-year strategic plan, Vision' 22.

"After the success of reinstating the National Dance Presenters Forum last year, and seeing how the participants in our first cohort have created a rich network and are moving their work forward, we're excited to welcome a New Group to the Pillow this July," says Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge.

The Forum experience will take the shape of a learning cohort, wherein participants, facilitators, and presenters 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 dance 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.

Jacob's Pillow has worked closely with national and regional partners to develop the curriculum for the program that provides a platform to discuss critical issues facing the dance field; strengthen curatorial practice in dance; explore collaborative strategies to support choreographic development; learn about and share audience engagement strategies; strengthen professional networks; and bolster support for dance across the United States.

Additional curricular insight comes from initiatives including NEFA's National Dance Project Regional Dance Development Initiatives and 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's Engaging Dance Audiences.

Programming highlights include the trailblazing ballet company Dance Theatre of Harlem in celebration of their 50th anniversary, and the world premiere of POWER, a new work that imagines what Black Shaker worship may have looked like from Brooklyn-based Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, among others.

The selection committee, comprised of representatives from Jacob's Pillow, NEFA, APAP, Dance/USA, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Project Consultant Jennifer Calienes, strives to seek varied geographic representation and be inclusive of historically underrepresented and marginalized communities.

In its inaugural year, the 2018 Forum planning committee selected 17 emerging dance presenters with diverse backgrounds as curators, cultural organizers, and service providers to artists and audiences, from a pool of over 71 applicants from 25 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to participating staff from partner organizations, 2018 facilitators included Bessie Award-winning writer and Curatorial Director of Gibney, Eva Yaa Asantewaa; esteemed critic and researcher Deborah Jowitt; founder of Urban Bush Women and the Bessie's Lifetime Achievement Award-winner, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; advocate for Native American contemporary performing arts and founder of Walrus Arts Management & Consulting LLC, Andre Bouchard; and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow and Artistic Director of A.I.M, Kyle Abraham.


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 and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with curriculum support provided by the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.


This five-day leadership development conference for 15 presenters from across the U.S. will be held July 10-14, 2019. Individuals who have been presenting dance for less than five years or are based at an organization that has been presenting dance for less than five years are encouraged to apply. Room, board, and tickets to Festival performances for those invited to attend will be fully subsidized. Selected participants will be required to cover a participation cost of $175 as well as their travel. Limited scholarships and travel subsidy are available.

To apply: visit jacobspillowdance.formstack.com/forms/ndpf2019

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