Almost forty years ago I was taking dance classes five days a week at Dartmouth College. I had recently received my Master’s degree in dance and was very pregnant with my first son. The teacher was Alison Becker Chase, one of the original members of PILOBOLUS DANCE THEATRE. When my son was born, I was asked to teach a class at Dartmouth as they had an overflow of students signed up for Alison’s dance classes. Dartmouth in those days was a men’s school with women allowed there for a semester on an exchange program, so most of the dance students were male. So with my three week old at the babysitter’s, I began to teach alongside Alison. Her teaching was creative. Unique really. She used improv in her classes to develop choreography. And out of those classes Pilobolus (named for a fungus that lives on dung) was born. I’ve often wondered what those young men would be doing today without Alison’s input and guidance. Certainly dance was not a major at Dartmouth during that era.
But the result is now in the history books as one of the most creative dance companies in the world. According to the PR, “The company incorporates dance, gymnastics, performance art and shadow play. Employing the human body as pure sculptural matter, the dancers link and unlink, twist and tumble, creating an ever-changing series of forms, many evocative of the natural world. Having performed live on stage in 63 countries and counting, Pilobolus has become an American dance institution—and a dance genre unto itself—and remains as innovative and influential as ever.”
The programs will include several pieces from their repertory including:
RUSHES (2007) the first of Pilobolus's International Collaborators Project, resulting from a mix of movement languages born out of a series of conversations and a laboratory workshop. Co-Artistic Director Robby Barnett and world-renowned dance-theatre makers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak discover hybrid terrain in a remarkable exploration of the range and intensity of deep collaboration. The result-an isolated community of broken dreams. Jacques Tati meets Gogol in a breakthrough for Pilobolus's constantly morphing aesthetic.
ALL IS NOT LOST (2011) is the live companion to Pilobolus' video collaboration with the Grammy-winning band OK Go. Playing with multiple perspectives, gravity, and dimensionality, the piece changes the way we look at dance through a kaleidoscopic view of human connection.
GNOMEN (1997) This is a Pilobolus classic. A quartet for men, Gnomen's lyrical exploration of relationships emerges from an unusually inventive physical vocabulary and is dedicated to the memory of their friend and colleague, Jim Blanc.
DAY TWO (1981) – One of Pilobolus’ classic works, Day Two’s tribal atmosphere enacts the second day of the creation of the world, from its earliest forms of life to the moment at which creatures of the earth take flight into the air. One of the company’s most amazing works, set to a soundtrack from Brian Eno and Talking Heads, Day Two captures the awe of evolution and the wonder of existence.
MEGAWATT (2004) An electrifying experience. A full-throttle, full-company piece, blends startling energy with an ironic take on the excess and high-voltage state of the world we live in. Ultra-dynamic moves to the music of Primus, Radiohead and Squarepusher; a breathtaking display of the company's physical endurance and prowess. It has been called “...fascinating and rebellious, an important work of dance” (Fort Worth Star Telegram).
While they are in town Pilobolus will be offering a free 90 minute Master Class in modern dance on March 3rd at 11:00 AM, which will incorporate the company’s signature work themes: dance, gymnastics and performance art. The educational program will be held in the Peacock Foundation Studio located in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. The class is free (reservation required) and is open to participants of all range of abilities, ages 16 and up. Those interested in participating must call (786) 468-2270 to make a reservation.
Performances are March 2 & 3, 2012 at 8 p.m.
Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House
Adrienne Arsht Center
1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132
For reservations, visit www.arshtcenter.org or call the box office at (305) 949-6722.