A night of dance for all


Contributed photo

Mercyhurst professor of Dance Mark Santillano holds fellow dancers in a pose reminiscent of Atlas during his time with Pilobolus.

Megan Lay, Contributing writer

On Oct. 10, Mercyhurst University has the unique opportunity of showcasing Pilobolus Maximus: Beyond the Limits of Dance at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
Pilobolus’ repertory appeals to a wide range of people from first time dance observers to experienced dance critics.
Truly, there is something in Pilobolus Maximus for everyone.
Pilobolus is a uniquely creative, high-energy dance theater company, founded in 1971 by a group of college students without formal training in dance.
Now, 47 years after its inception, Pilobolus has toured 65 countries, challenging the ideas of many dance disciplines with their inventive partnering and creature-making.
Mark Santillano, assistant professor of Dance, performed with Pilobolus for three seasons (1995-1998).
When Santillano considered what was unique about his experience with Pilobolus he said, “The creative process differs from most companies in that everything is collaborative.”
“When I was a part of the company, there were six dancers and four artistic directors involved,” he said. “So, we had 10 very opinionated, compassionate and creative people working on the same piece without a narrative, that could go any which way.”
Santillano is excited to see the current dancers’ interpretations of repertory and the company’s new works.
“Their best work all has humor, and they create some very thoughtful pieces,” he said.
“Most of the pieces, if any, have literal narratives. They are experts at creating images, moods and feelings. The dancers take you on an emotional ride without a narrative.”
Santillano also co-directs Mercyhurst’s resident modern dance company, SoMar Dance Works, which is inspired by his time dancing with Pilobolus.
When asked how he transitioned into working with students after his time in the company he said, “I find it necessary to keep humor in my work. I don’t like to dwell in a dark place in my art and choreography.
“Through creativity, I let the students know that it is alright if they do not make a masterpiece every time,” he said. “Hopefully, the more they try the more they will figure out what works. When they are afraid to try things, that is where creativity dies, and they have trouble succeeding as artists.”
Before the 7:30 p.m. performance, Pilobolus will be hosting a master class for dance majors.
Students will be exploring creative problem-solving of physical questions given certain parameters.
Even if you have not made it to a dance performance in the PAC yet, Pilobolus is a wonderful introduction to dance.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students and youths.
Tickets for Mercyhurst students are free with their ID.

**The article stated that the event is set to take place on Oct. 11, however, the event is actually taking place on Oct. 10.