Pilobolus puts on an innovative, athletic show at the Joyce – Metro US

Pilobolus puts on an innovative, athletic show at the Joyce

Forty-one years in, the sprawling corporation called Pilobolus keeps breaking new ground. Yet it manages to look and feel just like the team of undergraduates who formed the troupe in New Hampshire in 1971.

This year, a series of brief, Internet-ready film clips covers scene changes. One movie gives us traffic jams, sometimes speeded up; another offers grotesque explosions.

What happens onstage is less compelling. New this season is “Automaton,” made by longtime company member Renee Jaworski and Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui collaborating with the performers. Overwhelming the actual humans are a huge tilted mirror hung overhead, in which the audience can watch portions of the action usually hidden from view, and three portable mirrored panels.

Dancers in blue-collar clothes and white work gloves manipulate these panels, sending blasts of light into the house. After a while the clothes start coming off, but the choreographic shape of the material is hard to discern. Half the cast holds the mirrors while the others embrace, their hair loose, their chests or legs bare.

Another new work, “Skyscrapers,” derives from a music video Trish Sie made for OK Go. Brightly painted exterior walls scroll by on a huge screen, behind pairs of live dancers executing variations. Barely five minutes long, it’s the most successful piece on Program A, which alternates with a second bill featuring a new collaboration with juggler Michael Moschen.

The marine corps of the dance world, Pilobolus channels the rowdy spirit of athletes. It has a large following, and it’ll be at the Joyce for a month.


Through Aug. 11

Joyce Theater

175 Eighth Ave.

$10-$75, 212-242-0800


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