The Pillow Project's UNDERSTARS

The Pillow Project presented their newest full-length work UNDERSTARS in-person on March 4th & 5th, 2022 in Pittsburgh PA. This intimate performance, solely illuminated by The Pillow Project's original projected-light concepts, featured the improvisational dancers of The Pillow Project dance company (in direction from Artistic Director Pearlann Porter) in a piece where they slowly remembered the romantic language of human contact.


UNDERSTARS emerged from a time of profound isolation, loss, loneliness, and disconnection where our bodies were longing for touch,” says Porter. “I created this hour-long work with our accumulated tensions and releases as a direct response to our enduring filaments of connection to one another... despite what has felt like galactic distances of space between us. Here, we found ourselves ⏤ seemingly alone and untethered ⏤ held together under the stars."


Pearlann Porter


A Winged Victory for the Sullen

The creation of UNDERSTARS was made possible by a grant from

The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative 


The Pillow Project's NOW:PLAYING

The Pillow Project's NOW:PLAYING is a full-length and modular work lit entirely through a new and original approach to theatrical 'projected-lighting'. Created by Artistic Directors: poet/musician John Lambert and dancer/founder Pearlann Porter), this hour or 20-minute long performance with original score (created by long-time Pillow collaborator PJ Roduta) “paints the music onto the movement”.

By utilizing four video projectors aimed across the floor from the sides of the stage, the dancers are exclusively illuminated by animated and scrolling elements of light in high-contrast to the background of pure darkness. The light creates illusions out of the (whole and partial) bodies of dancers, who seemingly appear and disappear from nowhere.

Through her choreographic direction, Porter and the small cast of motion artists from The Pillow Project will play in the postmodern-jazz improvography that has been the hallmark of the company.

“With all my work, I aim to challenge the audience as much as the dancers,” says Porter. “I want them to question what their looking at, how it’s possible to be seeing what they’re seeing. I want them to forget they are in a theater watching human bodies dance and that this isn’t just their imagination of the music. I really enjoy making work that seems somehow impossible.”


NOW:PLAYING combines three facts: the present tense ‘Now’ is the definition of when improvisation happens; and, integrally, the dancers literally press ‘Play’ in unison at the start of the performance to initiate the precisely timed video projection they will play in; it also served as iconic theatrical announcement for the first Pillow Project feature length performance having ever to occured in a theater!


Pearlann Porter


PJ Roduta

The creation of NOW:PLAYING was made possible by a grant from

The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative