A dance to remember

Megan Lay, Contributing writer

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Pilobolus Dance Company left everything to the imagination during their performance in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center on Oct. 10.
That is the mission of the company, however, since everything they choreograph and present is rooted in imagination, creativity and improvisation.
The program presented was one filled with wonder, magic and introspection.
I am still left questioning the meaning of certain pieces and the intention behind the overall program, since the four pieces of the program did not fit together.
The company started the night with a trio, titled “On the Nature of Things.”
The space was manipulated so that the three dancers undulated and shape-shifted on a small platform, barely larger than my kitchen table.
The dancers alternated supporting one another as they hung over the edge of the platform, making the audience hold their breath.
The minimal costuming, making the dancers look almost nude, allowed the dancers to be viewed as something beyond human.
Even as the dance was coming to a close, the dancers slithered off the platform and retained their almost liquid properties.
This first piece served as an introduction to the physicality and strength needed to perform with the company.
The second piece, titled “Branches,” dramatically shifted the mood of the performance.
The company went from a dark, reflective, confined space to an open, airy and tropical location.
The dancers were obviously representing birds of the wild, each having a mating call that they abstractly pantomimed.
The lifts and partnering presented in this work also displayed the physicality of the dancers.
I found it interesting that this was the newest work presented in the program, yet it seemed to be the most classical interpretation of original Pilobolus style and movement.
After intermission, the company presented a magic act, titled “[esc].”
I am still not sure how this fit into the program.
This number of the show held some uncomfortable moments, such as tying a plastic bag over a woman’s head and duct-taping her to a chair.
For a younger audience, I would not have deemed this appropriate.
I call into question the need for a professional concert dance company to present and explore magic.
I honestly felt that this piece showed off the physicality of the dancers in a campy, or over-the-top way.
The last work of the evening was titled “Rushes.”
This was the oldest work presented, with its premiere in 2007.
There was an interesting story presented, but the lack of information in the title and the program notes led to many interpretations across the audience.
The range among these interpretations (whimsical to morbid) was what concerned and confused me about the message presented in this piece.
The use of Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” led to a reflective ending to the evening as women glided across the stage and chairs were slid across the stage.
Various technological aspects of the piece were not rehearsed as well as I figured a professional company would have rehearsed them.
The bare lightbulb hanging from the “ceiling” which served as a major focal point for the piece, did not turn on when the chain was pulled. Other projection aspects were also a little rusty.
The costuming led me to question the overall intention of the piece, instead of clarifying some of the questions I had.
The title left me with less of an introduction to the piece, which I found dissatisfying as well.
Overall, the evening’s performance was a great display of the physicality of the dancers in the Pilobolus Dance Company. Even the transitions between pieces seemed choreographed.
It was interesting to see how the limits of the human body and the definition of dance can be pushed.
I truly enjoyed the works presented, and I cannot wait to find another opportunity to see the company in action.

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