Friday, October 8, 2010

40th Anniversary Tour Presents PILOBOLUS


Contact: Veronica Corpuz, (412) 471-6082;

Diana Roth, (412) 471-8717;

High-res images:

Pittsburgh Dance Council & Cohen Grisby Trust Presents Series announce the 40th anniversary tour performance of PILOBOLUS

Saturday, October 30, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street

Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh Dance Council and Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series proudly present Pilobolus at the Byham Theater on Saturday, October 30, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. “Pilobolus embodies a large part of what the best in contemporary dance is all about: discovery. Making something new with the same standard body parts that all of us have. (The Washington Post).”  Tickets ($22-$56) may be purchased at the Box Office at Theater Square, online at, or by calling (412) 456-6666. First Commonwealth is the proud season sponsor of Pittsburgh Dance Council, and WDUQ 90.5 FM is the media sponsor. Cohen & Grigsby is the presenting sponsor of the Trust Presents series.

Celebrating its 40th season this year, Pilobolus has evolved into a pioneering American cultural institution of the 21st century. The company has produced over 100 choreographic works. Newsday comments “Pilobolus is a mind-blowing troupe of wildly creative and physically daring dancers who leap, fly, intertwine and break all the rules…Audiences should expect the unexpected with Pilobolus.” Pilobolus’ creative and far reaching impact on dance culture as well as their appeal to dancers and non-dancers alike, has consistently made this legendary dance group a “must see” and a widely popular and respected performance event. As 2010 celebrates the 40th anniversary of Pilobolus, it also marks the 8th time Pittsburgh Dance Council, during its 41-year presenting history, has featured this important modern dance troupe in Pittsburgh. Pilobolus’ performance schedule with the Pittsburgh Dance Council includes 1975-76 (PDC 6th season); 1980-81 (PDC 11th season); 1982-83 (PDC 13th season); 1989-90 (PDC 20th season); 1996-97 (PDC 27th season); 1998-99 (PDC 28th season); and 2002-03 (PDC 33rd season).


Pilobolus (crystallinus) is a phototropic zygomycete - a sun-loving fungus that grows in barnyards and pastures. It’s a feisty thing - only 1/4 inch tall - that can throw its spores nearly eight feet. Right over a cow. It is also a highly unusual dance company, embarking on its 40th year of evolution during 2010-2011.

In 1971 three students of Dartmouth College (Robby Bartnett, Michael Tracey, and the late Jonathan Wolken) united together in the name of art and science to create an exciting new form of contemporary dance, Pilobolus (the name of a fungus). The physical vocabularies of Pilobolus’ works are not drawn from traditions of codified dance movement but are invented, emerging from intense periods of improvisation and creative play.

Pilobolus is in constant pursuit of the exploration of new techniques to mold the body in ways that excite and tug at the strings of provoking thought. “Since its early years, the purest Pilobolus experiences have involved metamorphosis. We see both physicality and illusion. Bodies become imagery, and one image merges into another, poetically, inexplicably. (Alistair MacCaulay, The New York Times).

The company now revolves around three nuclei of activity: Pilobolus Dance Theater, the umbrella for a series of radically innovative and globally acclaimed concert dance companies; The Pilobolus Institute, unique educational programming; and Pilobolus Creative Services, a division specializing in a wide range of movement services for film, advertising, publishing, commercial clients, and corporate events.

Artistic direction for Pilobolus steams from the ingenious minds of Robby Barnett Michael Tracy, and the late Jonathan Wolken (July 1949-June 2010). Robby Barnett, born in the Adirondacks region, upstate New York, has also been employed as a technical metal worker, an instructor for Outward Bound Inc., a garden and landscape designer, and has taught skiing and high school art. Michael Tracy was born in Florence, Italy and raised in New England. He has choreographed for numerous prestigious companies and organizations and is a professor at Yale University.

The late founding member, Jonathan Wolken (1949-June, 2010), was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1949. He became acquainted with Pilobolus, the fungus, while researching its photoreceptor mechanism in his father’s biophysics laboratory. Mr. Wolken graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Philosophy. His artistic direction includes choreography of 46 works for Pilobolus; internationally for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, and “Oneiric” featured in a joint collaboration with Danish Television for members of the Royal Danish Ballet. Mr. Wolken was an integral part of the Pilobolus team. In addition to artistic direction, his responsibilities included director of development and educational workshops. Mr. Wolken was dedicated to furthering the dance influence of Pilobolus, and for creative thinking in all fields of study.

Pilobolus has received a number of prestigious honors, including the Berlin Critic’s Prize, the Brandeis Award, the New England Theatre Conference Prize, and a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in cultural programming. Pilobolus received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in choreography (2000) and the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Endowment Fellowship (2007) from Dartmouth College.

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