Call it human pinball, erotic gymnastics or the noodling of a bunch of jocks in a dance studio. Whatever they’re doing, Pilobolus’ antics have been intriguing audiences for close to 40 years.
Lately they’ve reached out from their base in Connecticut, collaborating with artists from other genres (like Maurice Sendak and Art Spiegelman) and other countries (like Inbal Pinto of Israel). In their 23rd season at the Joyce, which showcases old and new work, they’re also working with the rug-rat set’s favorite rocker, Dan Zanes.
But it was 2009’s “Hitched” — a duet by the late Jonathan Walken, a founding Pilobolite who passed away last month — which was the highlight of opening night. A quick encapsulation of wedding jitters, it lets a couple en route to the altar, Eriko Jimbo and Christopher Whitney, explore in physical terms the power dynamics at work in any marriage. The entwined pair, stripped to their skivvies, finally wanders off, supported by one of each of their legs.
The new “Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving’” was made by cartoonist Spiegelman and Michael Tracy with a couple of animators; it mashes live dancers with cartoons, comic strips and giant shadows. The noir-ish result, to a collage score of 14 musical snippets, is intermittently entertaining, often violent to women and much too long — a description that could apply to most of the Pilobolus repertoire. But people eat the stuff up. Check it out for yourself.