On Saturday, July 15 at 8 p.m., the internationally acclaimed arts organization Pilobolus, renowned for its unique and diverse collaborations that break the barriers between creative disciplines, will perform at Guild Hall in East Hampton.
Pilobous was founded in 1971 by a group of Dartmouth College students with no training in dance and no interest in playing by the rules of classical dance technique. They always create collaboratively, and are continually exploring new ways of using the human body as a graphic and expressive medium.
The company’s numerous honors include a Scripps Award in 2000, a Dance Magazine Award in 2010, a TED Fellowship, a 2012 Grammy Award nomination, and several Cannes Lion Awards at the International Festival of Creativity. In 2015, Pilobolus was named one of the Dance Heritage Coalition’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures.”
But that’s not all. The company has created and toured over 120 pieces of repertory to more than 65 countries and currently performs its work each year for over 300,000 people across the U.S. and around the world. In recent years, Pilobolus has been frequently featured on U.S. television including on The 79th Annual Academy Awards Broadcast, 60 Minutes, Sesame Street, Oprah, Ellen, Late Night with Conan O’ Brien and the Today Show.
And now is your chance to see Pilobolus, live and in person. “If you’ve never seen Pilobolus, or if you have seen Pilobolus in the past and you think you know what we’re going to do—we’re going to have some surprises for you in both cases,” says Matt Kent, Pilobolus co-artist director.
The Guild Hall performance will consist of four separate routines. Short videos will play between them, while the production crews set up for the next piece. These short videos will show the kind of work Pilobolus does off the stage, including their educational and community engagement programs.
The first piece will consist of three dancers on a pedestal, four feet off the ground. This piece, Kent says, is about constraint. The second piece will be an excerpt from a longer piece called Shadowland, made in collaboration with Stephen Banks, who was, at the time, the lead writer on Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. The third piece is a new collaboration with banjo legend Béla Fleck and his wife Abigail Washburn. The fourth piece, Rushes, is the first product of Pilobolus’s International Collaboration Project. “So,” Kent says, “It goes from our own Pilobolus creation, to working with someone who’s a cartoon writer and mime, to two banjo players and ending with this European take on it all.”
“You’re going to get a wide range,” Kent assured us. “If you think you don’t like dance,” he says, “come see it—it may surprise you. I like to say, this is work that keeps the husband happy,” he joked. “Anyone who has been dragged to a show—when those people like it, we really feel like we’re doing a good job. And I think this is a good show for people who have never seen dance. It’s a great gateway company.”
So get out and support an inventive, innovative and exciting art form, which you might otherwise not. As Kent says, “It’s important that people see things that entertain them but also make them ask questions. We’re not about answering questions, but about being in an environment where you can ponder something delightful or mysterious or creepy or scary or energizing. And I think it’s important that it happens in a live setting with a group of people.”