Jacob's Pillow Dance interactive Case Study
Jacob’s Pillow has the best history an artistic non-profit could ask for. It’s been the center of American dance for decades and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. At present, its annual dance festival is one of the most important in the world.
It’s the future that had its trustees concerned.
The physicality of the dance performances there has always enthralled aficionados and donors. But to keep thriving, the Pillow had to build that same enthusiasm for dance digitally, for audiences and supporters from Texas to Thailand. And it had to leap into the future so the Board reached out to ClearMetrics to help craft a strategic vision for Virtual Pillow, the digital outreach that would carry the mission to new audiences and newer mediums.
We immediately identified their unique problem: how do you build a digital relationship with users that will last beyond a browser session, all the while delivering content in a way that creates constant discovery? And brings the special magic of a physical visit to their Massachusetts campus to a small screen on another continent.
With this in mind, we designed and built the first of many Virtual Pillow initiatives, Dance Interactive: a video-based exhibition that translates the vibrant expression of live dance at the Pillow, and augments it with a simultaneous quiz feature that encourages the user to dig deeper into the experience.
The more videos the user views, the more connections the quiz unlocks; between different performers, different styles of dance, and different periods in the Pillow’s history.
We think that great dance and great digital are both about agility. When you make a move, you have to do it in a way that allows you to make any number of unexpected moves next.
We built Dance Interactive using a new Drupal module. The beauty of Drupal is its flexibility. The open-source technology requires no licenses to upgrade, and can easily be scaled up or down at any point in the future. And more importantly, the manner in which the video content is presented can be changed quickly by the Pillow’s staff, as the analytics or artistic situation dictates.
Dance Interactive is an example of how we like to develop our digital projects: not only anticipating the immediate need, but also laying the foundation to respond to needs that are years down the road.
Our solution has allowed the Pillow to create a digital outreach without requiring extra staff to manage content. And judging by today’s analytics, new audiences are finding the digital experience of dance just as riveting as the live version. Post-launch traffic is up and the average user engages with the site for over eight minutes.
They Said It
“… Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, perhaps the closest thing the dance world has to an online museum… A priceless treasury of history and art, this movable feast could very well suck you in by surprise. The format is irresistible…”
Excerpts from The Washington Post, September 30, 2011
In Jacob’s Pillow archives, moving history
by SARAH KAUFMAN
"The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival has long been known for eclectic lineups: ballet one week, flamenco the next...That breadth becomes apparent perusing the Pillow’s new online archive of video clips...The cleanly designed site lets you sort performances by era, genre and artist.. the archive isn’t above having a little fun...You don’t need to know much about dance to feel like an expert here..."
Excerpts from The New York Times Arts Beat, March 29, 2011
Dance Along With Twyla and Other Online Nuggets
By STEPHANIE GOODMAN