If you’ve never seen the dance company Pilobolus, and you missed the two recent sold out performances at Miami's Arsht Center, be sure to book tickets the next time they are in town. For forty years this modern company has achieved raves for their performances all over the world. Part of the reason is the very inventive choreography that includes unusual balance and weight exchange and using the body in unique ways to create strange visuals.
But the main reason, at least today, is that the seven company dancers are the fittest, most graceful and strongest humans you will ever see. Their core strength is probably the most exciting thing about their bodies. They can hold difficult positions for minutes on end. The recent program at the Arsht featured dance pieces created between 1992 and 2011. Each is different in its approach and execution.
The opening piece, RUSHES, was funny, silly and intriguing and dealt with a lot of chairs. Chairs that were moved and carried and shoved within a circle of light, to create architectural spaces within which to dance. The women donned socks and were pulled all around the space as if on ice. A woman literally climbed up on one of the male dancers who then carried her around with him up and over the chairs.
ALL IS NOT LOST was a Busby Berkeley number standing on his head. Working on an elevated Plexiglass stage with a wide-angle camera below and projected on a large screen, we see what the floor sees when looking up. Not always the most flattering of pictures, but intriguing nonetheless. The dancers rolled onto the stage and were pulled off it; feet looked huge and bottoms even bigger when the dancers stood and pliéd. Visions of the human body that I’ve never seen before. It was hard not to just watch the video version because of the funny juxtaposition of the dancers.
GNOMEN, with four men, was my favorite piece. This dance utilizes the strength of these men to the nth degree. Dancers are carried, flipped, and balanced in the most unusual ways. Three men balance the fourth man on their ankles and moved him like a clock pendulum. Another time a man walks on one arm and one leg. Amazing: strength and humor.
During the second act there is DUET. Because of the strength involved and the lifts involved, it took me a minute to realize both dancers were female. Again, strength and agility in every move and an interesting sound score of Norwegian songs.
The final dance was more like a gym meet and my least favorite. I still appreciated the skills and abilities, but not the style. I wondered how they could do all they were doing without hurting themselves until I saw a large black gym mat had been placed on the floor. A loud rock score accompanied their brash movements.
The dancers included Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Matt Del Rosario, Eriko Jimbo, Jordan Kriston, Jun Kuribayashi, Manelich Minniefree and Nile H. Russell.