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Pilobolus to perform tonight at Memorial Hall

In 1971 three students who needed to fill a P.E. credit at Dartmouth College enrolled in a dance class.

None of the three had any previous dance training. Their teacher quickly realized she needed to take an approach that focused more on the athleticism of movement than the technique.

This led the students to form Pilobolus Dance Theater, a world-renowned innovative dance group which focuses on athleticism more than traditional dance techniques.


Time: noon to 1:30 p.m. today
Location: Gerrard Hall


Time: 7:30 p.m. today
Location: Memorial Hall

The group will be performing tonight in Memorial Hall. Their name comes from the Pilobolus fungus which can shoot a spore from its top up to 60 feet in the air and has one of the fastest acceleration speeds in nature.

“It’s not like any other dance style,” said Jun Kuribayashi, the current dance captain. “It’s very active, we are climbing on top of each other.”

Reed Colver, director for campus and community engagements in the office of the Executive Director for Arts, said the dance is often acrobatic.

“It shows the strength of the body and how two bodies work together,” Colver said. “Two bodies will create whole new shapes.”

The choreography is designed to defy logic and push dancers to new extremes, Kuribayashi said.

“At rehearsals, you’ll hear questions like ‘Can you do that off two guys holding your feet?’ or ‘what’s the minimal amount of padding you need to jump off your partner?’”

He explained that there is one artistic director who shapes the general concept, but the moves themselves come from the entire group.

“When you lose a dancer you effectively lose a choreographer,” Kuribayashi said.

UNC students will have a chance to learn from the dancers and experience the unique choreography process in a master class hosted by the company this afternoon.

Elizabeth Kennedy, a UNC alumna who graduated in 2009, took a master class with Pilobolus in 2006 at the American Dance Festival in Durham.

“It’s not just learning choreography, they do a lot of group work and balancing with each other,” Kennedy said. “It’s quite acrobatic.”

With its daring and creative moves, the group promise to live up to its reputation.

“Most people who go don’t expect to see what we do on stage,” Kurabiyashi said. “We promise we will keep you engaged.”


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