Director’s Chair column: Interdisciplinary dance company Pilobolus comes to Beaver Creek |

Director’s Chair column: Interdisciplinary dance company Pilobolus comes to Beaver Creek

The imaginative, intellectual and engaging modern dance troupe Pilobolus will perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m.
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If you go …

What: Pilobolus.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

Cost: $58 for adults and $25 for students.

More information: Tickets are on sale now at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or visiting

BEAVER CREEK — At the Vilar Performing Arts Center, we have a knack for presenting some of the most diverse talents touring America today. Our programming includes popular music superstars, opera virtuosos, stand-up comedians and even smash-hit Broadway shows. Today, we present a group of performers with a repertoire as diverse as the Vilar Center itself.

Pilobolus is one of the world’s foremost dance and movement theater companies, leaping, intertwining and breaking all the rules. To call it a dance company may be misleading, as its work incorporates elements of magic and illusion, puppetry and even advanced robotics. Pilobolus helped set the stage for groups such as Cirque de Soleil, Blue Man Group and Momix. Trying to describe the dancers’ back bending, spellbinding talent is difficult at best. And, while a picture tells a thousand words, this company really needs to be experienced live — I encourage you to do so.

Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, was the spawning point for Pilobolus in 1971. The founders, a motley crew of athletes, artists and bookworms with a varying array of majors, were enrolled in a dance composition class taught by Alison Becker Chase. It was in that class that they created their first dance, which they titled “Pilobolus” — named after a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed and accuracy.

Whether performing at the Olympics, in an Academy Awards telecast or live on stage, Pilobolus brings a brilliant ingenuity to the stage that defies all notions of what modern dance is and can be. The company is accessible to a broad audience, as it includes dance, mime, sculpture, humor, athleticism and theatricality.

Collaborative nature

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Pilobolus succeeds, in part, because of its collaborative nature. It has set a precedent of incorporating the strengths of its many guest creators to craft an inventive range of new works from partners including cartoonist Art Spiegelman, juggler Michael Moschen and even the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Distributed Robotics Laboratory. One of the pieces on Friday’s program is the gripping work “[esc],” devised in part by Las Vegas magicians Penn and Teller. This scintillating and controversial piece involves fantastic illusion and emphasizes the magic of human athleticism.

The evening’s program will include five dance pieces: “On the Nature of Things” (this piece includes partial nudity); “Wednesday Morning, 11:45,” “Thresh/Hold,” “[esc]” and “Sweet Purgatory.”

This is the third time we’ve presented Pilobolus at the performing arts center, and the work is always original and pleasing to a broad audience. For those who think they don’t like dance, I encourage you to give Pilobolus a try I would go so far as to say if you attend and you are disappointed, I will give you your money back — that’s how strongly I feel about the quality of this company’s work and hope you will take a chance on discovering the beauty and wonder of Pilobolus.

Kris Sabel is executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

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