Pilobolus Dance Company
Performs at Ferst Center March 25
Dance may be the art of body in motion, but with Pilobuls it’s just as likely to be the body posed as human sculpture.
You’ve probably seen Pilobuls, one of the most creative dance troupes in the world, either on “Oprah,” the now defunct “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” the Academy Awards or on a commercial. But then you only saw a tinge of what Pilobolus does.
You can catch this world-famous dance troupe at the Ferst Center for the Arts Thursday, March 25.
I spoke on the phone to Pilobolus’s artistic director, Robby Barnett, who began performing with the company the year it began in 1971.
How do you describe what Pilobolus does?
Our company constructs dances that emerge from free play. That’s where we explore psychological and physical interaction.
What is the statement Pilobolus is trying to make?
We’re creating a utopian ideal of a civil society. It’s a metaphor for a civil society working together with a common purpose. We make entertaining and evocative dances. If there is a message, it has to do with working together to do something that people can’t do by themselves.
Are there any similar dance classes or dance companies around the country that teach your method?
We hold a summer workshop in Washington Depot, Connecticut. I’m not sure what else is happening around the country that is similar.
Pilobolus seems like a mixture of dance and art, specifically sculpture. What kind of background do the choreographers have?
My partners and I had not had training in dance when we started. Our vocabulary emerges from free play and physical investigation. Our dancers’ training is variable. Typically, women take dance classes when younger, the men typically approach dance much later, some in college. We find people with a diverse background. Many have skills cultivated through sports, martial arts and street dance.
Do the dancers partake in the choreography by improvising during rehearsals?
We begin with a period of improvisation where we discover what we’re interested in as a group. We have a thought about the way a dance may go, but we’re open to change throughout the process.