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By Maíra Amorim, Contributing Reporter

Photo provided by Pilobolus Inc.
Photo provided by Pilobolus Inc.

RIO DE JANEIRO – They are dancers, but also acrobats. They are able to work with their bodies in totally new and unexpected ways. They are called the Pilobolus Dance Theater, one of the most original in the contemporary dance scene, and will be bringing their show to Rio’s Vivo Rio venue in Flamengo from May 22nd to May 24th.

Created 38 years ago and considered the pioneer of what is called “acrobatic dance”, the North-American company has created something of a revolution in modern dance, presenting spectacles that combine dance with many other artistic manifestations such as theater improvisation and visual effects. For the three Vivo Rio performances, the company will put on something of a retrospective, presenting a program of five routines created since their inception, including one from as far back as 1973.

Moses Pendleton, who later created Momix, is the mind behind Pilobolus. Despite his background in classical ballet it was his idea to break with the patterns of traditional dance, and the audience and critic’s responses have always been very positive. As a mark of recognition in 2007, the company was invited to perform at the Oscar ceremony introducing the nominees for best movie. An audience of over 1 billion people watched the underground company that started off as an outsider in 1971.

Since then Pilobolus has grown and is now divided into three branches: Pilobolus Dance Theatre, an itinerant company formed by seven people, The Pilobolus Institute, which is focused on educational programs and the Pilobolus Creative Services who specialize in a range of services for film, advertising, publishing, commercial clients, and corporate events. Despite that commercial division, they remain a non-profit organization partly maintained by the government, by donations and by the Met Foundation, which is the sponsor for the dance tours.

In their first Brazilian tour, Pilobolus will perform in six state capitals: Rio, São Paulo, Brasília, Salvador, Curitiba and Porto Alegre – and on the program are the following movements:

Lanterna Magica (2008), which is defined in their official website as a “full company work that immerses us in the luminous spirit of the natural world and uses ritual and mythology to create a mysterious and irresistible sensual celebration of the supernatural.”

Rushes (2007), which is the first of Pilobolus’s collaborating partners projects, that resulted in “an isolated community of broken dreams” in which Jacques Tati meets Gogol.

Symbiosis (2001), a male-female duet that is “at once a Darwinian investigation and a love story that never ceases to surprise with its majesty and emotional depth.”

Megawatt (2004), “an electrifying experience: a full-throttle, full-company piece, it blends startling energy with an ironic take on the excess and high-voltage state of the world in which we live.” It has songs from Primus, Radiohead, and Squarepusher in a “breathtaking display of the company’s physical endurance and prowess.”

Pseudopodia (1973), a “tumbling tumbleweed solo set to an all-percussion score”.

All these definitions, taken from their website, only arise the curiosity towards this dance company that breaks with tradition and challenges the spectators.


Pilobolus Dance Theater

Vivo Rio
Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85, Parque do Flamengo
Friday May 22nd and Saturday May 23rd at 9:00 PM
Sunday May 24th at 5:00 PM
Tickets from R$50 (Ticket information and sales: (4003 -1212)

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