Georgia Clark's Arts Mixtape

We Think They Can Dance

Wildly innovative dance company Pilobolus returns to the Joyce Theater for three new shows of genre-defining movement.

Innovative dance company Pilobolus draw their inspiration from "sex, death, and the rest of it. In the fields of art, everything is grist for the mill." Catch them this summer at Joyce Theater. Photo courtesy of the Joyce Theater.

The Joyce Theater, 75 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC
July 13 – August 8
Tickets $59/ $35/ $19. Information (212) 242-0800 and

With two New York premieres and one world premiere, Pilobolus' four-week season at the world-renowned Joyce Theater promises to engage and inspire dance fans of all ages.

First up, "Redline", a new work by Jonathan Wolken in collaboration with Pilobolus which, like its 2004 predecessor "Megawatt", investigates the poetry of violence. Accompanied by a driving and seductive score by music's cool kid's Battles and Autechre, "Redline" promises energy balanced by a graceful discipline as the theme of physical battle is explored.
"Dog-id" is the companies first attempt to combine the shadow work they've been exploring for the last few years with their work in front of the screen, in a fable about a young girl's descent into her own dreams. Intriguingly enough, this has been created in collaboration with Steven Banks, head writer for the kid's cult classic "Spongebob Squarepants"!
Finally "2b", the company's second collaboration with Israeli choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack. "2b" ushers the audience onto a surreal boulevard of broken dreams while the music rotates back and forth from Hawaiian pop to Bach.
We spoke to Itamar Kubovy, Executive Director of Pilobolus, about the new work we can expect to see and some of the secrets of Pilobolus' extraordinary success over their past 39 years.
Q. What does a collaboration with a chuldren's comedy writer - perhaps the epitome of the non-dancer - bring to a dance work?
A. Steve brought us his crazed vision of the world, his love of physical comedy (he was trained at clown school and is an amazing mover), and his flexible, if rigorous, approach to story and scenario. Plus, he laughs at our jokes.
Q. How has the popularity of a program like "So You Think You Can Dance" affected the public's view and appetite for dance?
A. Pilobolus believes the fundamental goal of choreography is to make something that people will want to sit and watch. If people are watching dance on TV, somebody's doing something right. We'd like to believe a few of them will come to see what dancers look like in the flesh.

Innovative dance company Pilobolus draw their inspiration from "sex, death, and the rest of it. In the fields of art, everything is grist for the mill." Catch them this summer at Joyce Theater. Photo courtesy of the Joyce Theater

Q. As a dance company, Pilobolus has grown from something of the quirky artsy outsider kid to the popular and powerful leader. What smart choices and calculated risks made this happen?
A. We are an arts organism and do everything we can to maintain a highly responsive, protoplasmic approach to creative evolution. When we see something interesting, something nourishing, we reach out and grab it, so our form always reflects what we doing, rather than the other way around. Also, it helps to marry a keen sense of humor with the patience of an ass.
?Q. Your method for new choreography emphasizes invention through improvisation, and is said to be used as a model for creative thinking in other fields. How?
A. We believe in the power of ignorance, of not knowing what you can't do. Ignorance is the motivating genius of curiosity, pushing us in directions we didn't know we had available. We believe in the power of timely decision-making; there is on average much greater risk in failing to make decisions when they're needed than in making the wrong ones. We believe in the power of conflict, that intelligent imaginative people will disagree and that within a community of like-minded people, there is a Darwinian process of ideas, winnowing the weak to clear passage for the strong. We do recognize that not every problem in art or life is best solved by lots of people talking at the same time, but we have a deep and abiding faith in collective action.?




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