Audience in silent awe of Pilobolus
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 00:11
Not a sound was heard throughout the Jorgensen auditorium during the performance of Pilobolus on Thursday night as audience members watched in awe.
Based in Washington Depot, Conn., Pilobolus is a dance company whose primary goals are to make dances, spend time with people they admire and have fun. The company was founded in 1971 and welcomes a growing succession of creative minds that are curious about human relationships and their physical expression. In their note to the audience, they describe themselves as a “community of artists who view the world as playfully as we possibly can.”
Pilobolus, like the fungus the group takes its name from, has continued to grow by expanding its methods of creative collaboration to create a repertoire of over 100 choreographic works. 2012 marks Pilobolus’ 41st year, and in those years the company has performed live shows in 64 countries and received prestigious awards like a Primetime Emmy Award and the Berlin Critic’s Prize. In addition to performing, it strives to build communities through art by teaching its creative process to performers and non-dancers through educational projects and programs.
Before the dancers began their performance, the show started with the first of many videos that were displayed on the screens in the theater. Fittingly, “Pilobolus is a Fungus” was the title of the video that was a prelude to the performance of “Rushes.” It was performed by Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Benjamin Coalter, Matt Del Rosario, Eriko Jimbo, Jordan Kriston and Nile Russell. The dance contained the use of chairs as props, orchestral violin and piano duets, transitions incorporated as acts of dancing and a dreamlike sequence in which the performers glided across the stage. As the lighting constantly changed, it either diverted or focused attention on parts of the stage and the dancers. The dancers themselves evolved with the music, speeding up or slowing down their dances with the tempo.
“Traffic,” a compilation of things being blown up in slow motion with a score by Crystal Castles, was the next video before the performers took the stage with “All is Not Lost,” which was created last year. Created by the band OK GO, the performance included an elevated glass platform and a video camera placed on the floor underneath it. As the dancers danced on and off the platform, audience members were able to see them create visual illusions in front of the camera. With a screen displaying the view from underneath the glass platform, the dance created a juxtaposition of the dancers performing in real life and their two dimensional figures on screen.
The next piece, called “Gnomen,” was dedicated to the memory of Pilobolus’ friend and colleague, Jim Blanc. Performed by Ahern, Rosario, Russell and Chris Whitney, the dance began with the four clumped together in a ball rolling onto stage. The majority of it consisted of a 3-to-1 pairing where the solitary dancer was either tormented or helped by the other three. The end of this dance led into intermission.
The final two dances of the night were “Duet,” created in 1992, and “Day Two,” created in 1980. The former was dedicated to the memory of Rebecca Jung and was based on medieval songs from Norway. “Day Two” contained some female nudity and contained bass driven music.
At the end of the show, the dancers created a slip-and-slide with a covering they used for the final dance. While they played in the water, they waved and splashed the audience as well. They received a standing ovation as they took bows and resumed spinning in the water.