January 2018

Pilobolus:Maximus... Modern Dance...but Much More.

Author: Andrea Gannon

The dancers of Pilobolus twist, turn, contort and glide. But the beauty in what they do is how their spellbinding actions create something even more powerful than movement. Instead, these graceful athletes-in-dance paint portraits of emotion onstage.

For 46 years, Pilobolus has brought their invigorating dance to life and tested the limits of human physicality to explore the beauty and power of connected bodies through acrobatic, breathtaking movement. The Arts Center is thrilled to welcome this innovative dance company to the stage, January 12 and 13.

This company, which tips acrobatics over into various aspects of dance, poetry and drama, was founded in 1971 at Dartmouth College. A group of men, each with a different sport and educational focus, came together to create this company. Moses Pendleton, an English literature major and cross-country skier; Jonathan Wolken, a philosophy science major and fencer; and Steve Johnson, a pre-med student and pole vaulter were enrolled in a dance composition class taught by Alison Becker Chase. In that class, they created their first dance, which they titled “Pilobolus”—and a legacy of movement and magic was born.

The dance company’s unusual name comes from the scientific world, specifically, pilobolus crystallinus, which is a phototropic (light-loving) fungus. Commonly known as “Hat Thrower,” its spores accelerate 0–45 mph in the first millimeter of their flight and adhere to wherever they land. The father of Jonathan Wolken was studying pilobolus in his biology lab when the group first formed. The name was apt, and stuck.

In the more than four decades since its campus-beginnings, Pilobolus has performed on Broadway, at the Oscars, and the Olympics, and has appeared on television, in movies, in advertisements, in schools and businesses and created over 120 dance works. Pilobolus has been recognized with many prestigious honors, including a TED Fellowship, a 2012 Grammy® Award Nomination, a Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming, and several Cannes Lion Awards at the International Festival of Creativity. In 2015, Pilobolus was named one of Dance Heritage Coalition’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures.”

The company continues to propel the seeds of expression via human movement to every corner of the world, growing and changing each year while reaching new audiences and exploring new visual and musical planes.
The company’s latest work, on stage at the Arts Center, is called Pilobolus: Maximus and takes the most diverse and theatrical elements of Pilobolus—some old, and some brand new—and assembles them in a series of continually changing worlds. From the irreverence of a wild circus to the filigree of their most classical physical work, Maximus is not only the best of this spectacular company, but the most revealing of how imaginative and surprising Pilobolus can be.

Pilobolus will be at the Arts Center January 12-13 for two extraordinary shows, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $61.

Get them by calling (843) 842-ARTS (2787) or secure your reservation online at tickets.artshhi.com.

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