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GOTTA DANCE! Exhibit at Jacob's Pillow Celebrates Vintage Movie Poster Art, Summer 2014


The art of the dance movie poster is celebrated at Jacob's Pillow this summer with GOTTA DANCE!, an extraordinary exhibit of vintage posters from throughout the world. The posters, which feature stars such as Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse, Eleanor Powell, and Astaire & Rogers, were selected from the personal collection of one of the genre's foremost experts, award-winning campaign designer and producer Mike Kaplan. GOTTA DANCE! includes a special six-poster salute to Marge and Gower Champion on the occasion of Marge Champion's 95th birthday.

A lavishly illustrated limited edition art book has been published to coincide with the exhibition, which is free and open to the public throughout the summer at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, now through August 24. Kaplan will also participate in a free PillowTalk on June 27, 5pm to 6pm.

Mike Kaplan comments, "The ideal poster is a microcosm of the movie itself, capturing with inventiveness the feeling one has after leaving the cinema. It should be both a work of art and a souvenir of one's movie experience." While the motion picture is recognized as the most influential art form of the 20th century, the movie poster has seldom received the recognition it deserves. GOTTA DANCE! focuses on the film poster as a unique art form and celebrates the ways in which dance and dancing have been used as a dominant promotional image for both musical and non-­musical films.

Director of Preservation Norton Owen collaborated with Kaplan to create this exhibition as a special tribute to Marge Champion, who donated the exhibition's venue to Jacob's Pillow more than 20 years ago. Blake's Barn was moved to the Pillow from Champion's property in Stockbridge as a memorial to her son, Blake, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1987. "Hosting Mike Kaplan's eye-popping collection in Marge's milestone year seemed like the perfect way to salute her generosity to the Pillow and her ongoing presence in our lives."

Design aesthetics and historic significance are the standards of the collection, which is comprised of sixty distinct pieces of varying size and rarity. Signature pieces include an original French poster for An American in Paris (1951), previously owned by Gene Kelly; a young Jimmy Stewart with Eleanor Powell in Born to Dance (1936); an iconic image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in elegant evening attire for Carefree (1938); Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in caricaturist Al Hirschfeld's design for Strike Up the Band (1940); and the only poster to spotlight The Nicholas Brothers, executing a dazzling, acrobatic tap routine on the Italian single folio for The Great American Broadcast (1941). Many original interpretations of American films come from overseas; examples from Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden will be on display alongside their American cousins.

Non-­musical discoveries range from ballerina Greta Garbo in the German Grand Hotel (1932) and Lillian Gish peering at the dancing couples in La Bohème (1926) to Laurel and Hardy in Jitterbugs (1943) and the sensual teaming of George Raft and Carole Lombard in the exquisite Swedish Bolero (1934). Dynamic graphics highlight many of the screen's most talented star dancers and performers: from Shirley Temple to Marilyn Monroe and James Cagney to Elvis Presley. Other notable performers include Katherine Dunham, Margot Fonteyn, Lena Horne, Audrey Hepburn, Carmen Miranda, Rudolf Nureyev, and Frank Sinatra.

Previous exhibitions from the collection have been held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, the second TCM Classic Film Festival, The Roy Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center, and The California Heritage Museum. Individual pieces have been included in exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery and The New York Public Library.

The Pillow will host a free PillowTalk with Mike Kaplan in conversation with Director of Preservation Norton Owen on Friday June 27 at 5pm. He will discuss his monumental collection, his new book, and the Pillow exhibit.

Kaplan's companion book, GOTTA DANCE! The Art of the Dance Movie Poster, with full-color reproductions and extensive commentary, will soon be available at the Pillow Store and online at

The exhibit spaces at Jacob's Pillow highlight diverse visual art works each summer, with 2014 collections ranging from archival materials celebrating the centennial of the marriage of Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis to paintings by Kenneth Parris III that focus on the final tour of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Past exhibits have featured work by Lois Greenfield, Jordan Matter, Jules Feiffer, Annie Leibovitz, Al Hirschfeld, and more.

Visitor Information: The GOTTA DANCE! exhibit is open Tuesday noon through 5pm; Wednesday through Saturday noon through 9pm; and Sunday noon through 5pm. The exhibit is free and open to the public; located in Blake's Barn on the Jacob's Pillow campus at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, Mass.

ABOUT THE PILLOW: Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 82nd Festival in 2014, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and an extensive schedule of free public events. Through Jacob's Pillow Curriculum in Motion, a nationally-recognized program, artist-educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; choreography commissions; and the annual $25,000 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award all support visionary dance artists and choreographers. Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob's Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive is a curated online video collection of dance highlights from 1936 to today. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. For more information, visit

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