Pilobolus Dance Theatre began in 1971 at Dartmouth College and will be coming to the midlands on October 12-13, 2013. Its founding members were Robby Barnett, Lee Harris, Moses Pendleton, Alison Becker Chase, Martha Clarke, Michael Tracy and Jonathan Wolken. When Harris departed in 1975, the remaining four men and two women have remained the basic structure of the group. Pendleton and Chase collaborated to form the derivative group Momix. The dances created by Pilobolus are extremely physical and can be considered almost gymnastic in nature.
This collaborative dance company is acclaimed for its mix of humor, invention and drama. Drawing inspiration from biology, the dance troupes is named after a fungus that thrives in cow dung, Pilobolus has created a dance vocabulary all its own. Pilobolus began as an experiment among three men and one puzzled professor in a Dartmouth dance class in 1970. It was “survival of the giddiest,” as the three non-dancers goofed around with the material they’d been given, themselves, and got entangled in science-inspired poses (think: “soft-belly protoplasmic thing”) and movements. From these humble, biological beginnings has emerged an innovative, unlikely and almost-uncategorizable dance company that combines athleticism, grace and humor with a profound sense of unity.
Their smooth, organic choreography, featuring unusual partnering and lifts, often blurs the lines between individual performers, creating a sense of dance-troupe-as-organism. Still evolving after 35 years, Pilobolus has built up a repertoire of more than 85 works and received numerous awards, including the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in choreography. Their hilarious appearance at the 2007 Oscars, where they built witty silhouettes to punctuate the ceremony, brought the troupe further into the public eye.
Excerpts from Pilobolus.org.