Pre-Show:The dancers were on stage stretching, playing, laughing, hugging loved ones, waving, introducing friends to new found friends, and talking with audience members. Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, one of the company’s dancers, graduated from Keene State College a few years before myself. As he kneeled by the edge of the stage, I surprised him. As two worlds collided, we shared honest smiles. I was glad to be there to support a fellow Keene State graduate. Then the stage manager appeared and that was the dancers cue to form a tight ritualistic circle.
Show: The lights dimmed and the circle disappeared. At that moment, I was proud to be an audience member. One of the first pieces was, All Is Not Lost. Each dancer was in a sea foam green skin-tight jump suit, and all their smiles were as wide as an ocean. A large glass box was on stage with a video camera underneath the glass, which then projected a different view on a wide screen adjacent to the box. It reminded me of childhood. A time where building sand castles, hunting for crabs, and boogie boarding until dusk meant everything because it was everything. A time where eating twix bars and corn muffins in between swims was all I ever wanted. A time where the sun didn’t kill you it energized you. Games like capture the flag, kick the can, old maid, and flash light tag were rituals before bed. It was a time where my bare feet, backyard bbqs, and neighborhood dogs ruled my world. The dancers in sea foam green jump suits, with enormous smiles, sliding and making shapes on the top of a glass box, with music from OK GO, brought me back to my family’s cottage by the beach.
Post-Show: At the end, after the final piece, Megawatt, the entire house stood almost simultaneously as the dancers bowed in their attractive red, white, and black costumes. Megawatt is a true test of the dancer’s physical ability and stamina. The shocking movements and the level of intensity sent an electric shock throughout the audience. It was as if we were really a unit. As if there were no walls. The stage went black and we immediately rose. I think if I were to be asked why do I go to the theatre… it would be for curtain calls like that one.
Pilobolus: In 1971 in a beginner’s modern dance class at Dartmouth College, 3 students (Moses Robb Pendleton, Jonathan Wolken, and Steve Johnson) developed a dance theater group named PILOBOLUS, named after a powerful fungus that lives in cow dung. Since 1971, the company has grown, becoming widely known and respected in the national and international community. The decisions and creative exploration in that class forever impacted not only their personal lives, but the dance world. Their repertoire, which is continuously building on itself, has now been toured in 64 countries, and the magical thing is…. we never know what PILOBOLUS will do next.
- Allie R.