You may have seen Pilobolus featured in an automobile commercial on television. The troupe of artists, having fashioned themselves into the shape of a car (A Honda or Accura, if I recall), slowly uncoil their expertly intertwined bodies and reveal the construct to have been human origami.
The company, beginning it's 40th anniversary season, was named by one of its co-founders after a fungus (genus Pilobolus) being researched in his father's biophysics laboratory at Dartmouth College, where the group started.
Pilobolus was in town last evening beginning a four-day run, and Kali and I went to see them as part of our contemporary dance series. I’m giving the performance a mixed review. There were five pieces, and I think that the first and last were the best. I fell asleep during the third piece, “Duet,” between two women who intimately juxtaposed their bodies for what seemed to be forever, but Kali liked it and my sleepiness may have been partially attributable to the warm auditorium and the fact that I had taken an antihistamine late in the afternoon.
There were two “shadow” pieces in which a translucent screen separated the audience from the backlit performers. The first was short and fun. My initial reaction to the second was, “Oh, no! Not another one!” But the piece, a sort of animated comic strip, grew on me, especially because the dancers occasionally came from behind the screen and performed in view of the audience.
The last piece, “Redline,” was classic Pilobolus and incredibly intense, energetic dance. it blew the audience away.
Unfortunately, Pilobolus doesn't always know when to stop. Too often, once they've made their point with a dance, they expand it until it becomes wearing. That was cetainly the case with the three longer pieces last evening. Nevertheless, Pilobolus continues to explore new movement paradigms and their programs are never boring.