Joseph Pilates at Jacob's Pillow

Joseph Pilates at Jacob’s Pillow

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Joseph Pilates taught for approximately 15 years at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts and bought a large piece of property a short distance away where he and Clara visited often. In this fascinating interview, Norton Owen, Archivist at Jacob's Pillow, shares a glimpse into Joe's personality, activities and ambitions seen through the records left behind. See photographs, notes taken by students in Joe's classes, an extremely candid letter about Joe written by Pillow founder Ted Shawn, and more. Our gratitude goes to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival for allowing us to share this history! Note: Mentioned in this interview is a program presented at JP in 2010. You can see an edited version of it here: Pillow Talk: Pilates at the Pillow.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Tan 5 years ago

    What a joy to hear Norton Owen’s voice here at Pilatesology! I was very fortunate to be an intern at Jacob’s Pillow many years ago and and grateful for the experience for many reasons – one of which was being introduced to Pilates. Alisa, I just love that you and the crew take time to share the history and tradition behind the work – thank you!

  2. joelcrosby

    What a wonderful gem of information! Thank you Alisa for putting this together and sharing it.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      joelcrosby, stay tuned! We have more amazing stuff to come from our visit to Becket. It will be up soon.

  3. Christina Maria Gadar

    I used to go to Jacob’s Pillow as a young ballet student at the Boston Ballet School. This interview (plus the provided link) has inspired me to go back there the next time I’m in Massachusetts visiting my family. Thank you!

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      So glad you enjoyed this Christina, there are so many dance and Pilates treasures at Jacob’s Pillow!!

  4. Kathi Ross Nash

    LOVE IT!

  5. Ynowak 5 years ago

    This was wonderful, thank you so much for sharing. In the accompanying link, Ann Hutchinson Guest was talking about a version of Return to Life that is in Laban notation. Has anyone that knows how to read that notation ever had an opportunity to see it? I wonder if there are any differences from the text version that we know.

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      Glad you enjoyed! About your question regarding Laban notation, I don’t know if anyone has had an opportunity to see the notation but if it’s in the archives at Jacob’s Pillow, you would be able to look at it.


    You can also watch at Youtube:

    • Alisa Wyatt Author

      That’s the correct link, thank you! I changed it in the description so everyone will find it now.

  7. Alisa Wyatt Author

    Sorry about that! Here’s the link:
    When we visited, there was a short version of the program available online but I noticed today that it has been taken down. If you visit Jacob’s Pillow you can watch the entire program there.


    Hi Alisa, the link to Pillow Talk seems not to work:
    404 Page Not Found
    /items/show/40313. is not a valid URL.
    Could you check?

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