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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 13, 2004

Pilobolus Returns March 5 With Four UI Premieres

Pilobolus Dance Theatre, the legendary American company that cleverly melds dance and acrobatics, will return to the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium for a performance at 8 p.m. Friday, March 5.

Pilobolus has performed in Hancher on several occasions, but the March 5 concert will feature four works that have never before been seen by UI audiences: "Star-Cross'd," "Wedlock," "Symbiosis" and "Brass Ring."

"Star-Cross'd," which alludes to the doomed love of Romeo and Juliet, is largely performed in mid-air, with hanging lengths of silver-black fabric. The New York Observer's review called it "a superb example of what the company does best."

"Wedlock" is a series of eight duets, which a New York Times review described as "a nifty and sophisticated piece about human relationships."

"Symbiosis" is a duet incorporating the "human sculpture" elements that are the signature of Pilobolus. A Dance Insider review observed that the dancers "hang, precariously, from the other's arms, chest, shoulders and torso -- and clearly gaze into an abyss which is avoided only by constant contact with the other. Such moments give 'Symbiosis' emotional and dramatic authority."

"Brass Ring," choreographed for the Olympic Arts Festival, is more classic Pilobolus, combining whimsical humor with athletic feats. After its premiere at the 2002 Winter Games, the Salt Lake Tribune review commented that the piece, "celebrates skill and strength in an atmosphere where pomp and ceremony meet carnival midway. Thrills, spills and eye-popping feats of physical ability are common parlance between these dancers and the athletes of the Games."

Pilobolus -- named after a sun-loving fungus -- was founded in 1971 and was almost immediately acclaimed for its startling mix of humor, invention and acrobatic athleticism.

Over the years Pilobolus has probably invented more witty, acrobatic ways to stack, balance and propel performers than any dance company in history -- causing audiences to alternately chuckle and gasp, and leading Newsweek to dub them "as zany as the Marx Brothers, as clever as Houdini."

Generations of Pilobolus dancers (and their offshoot, Momix) have been hosted by Hancher, including the commissioning of "Rejoyce -- A Pilobolus Finnegans Wake" and "Tsu-Ku-Tsu," which was part of Hancher's Millennium Festival.

Pilobolus lives and works in Washington Depot, Conn., a small town in the state's rural northwest, and performs for stage and television audiences all over the world. It has toured extensively in the United States as well as in Central and South America, the Middle East, Far East, Russia and Europe. The U.S. State Department has sponsored tours in Portugal, Spain, Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent.

The company has been an annual feature of the American Dance Festival and has produced many of its works with festival commissions. It is a veteran of two seasons on Broadway and currently presents a month of performances at the Joyce Theatre in New York City every year. Pilobolus has played to full houses from London's Sadler's Wells and Rome's Teatro Olimpico to Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens and Paris' Theatre de la Ville.

Pilobolus works are also represented in the repertoires of other major dance companies, including the Joffrey, Feld, Ohio, Hartford and Arizona Ballets in the United States, the Ballet National de Nancy et de Lorraine in France and Italy's Verona Ballet.

The company has received several prestigious honors, among them the Scotsman Award for performances at the Edinburgh Festival, the Berlin Critic's Prize, The New England Theatre Conference Prize, the Brandeis Award, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Award for Excellence and in 1997 a Primetime Emmy Award.

Pilobolus Creative Services produces work beyond the venues of the Pilobolus performing companies, creating original work for corporations, television, film, opera, and other theater companies.

Pilobolus has created television commercials for Mobil, Toyota, Seibu and Bloomingdale's, and special live events for corporations including IBM, United Technologies, Dupont, Merck, DDB Needham, Comcast, Sunrider International and Boehringer-Ingelheim.

The company has also created gala performances for Pierre Cardin, Joe Boxer, Marithe Girbaud, M.A.C. Cosmetics and Krizia.

Pilobolus has also created original work for a number of other arts organizations. The company recently completed a new work in collaboration with Maurice Sendak, Arthur Yorinks and the Night Kitchen theater company, documented by Mirra Banks' Nobody's Girls film production company.

Pilobolus has also choreographed a European production of Mozart's "Magic Flute" with conductor John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists.

Over the years, Pilobolus has collaborated several times with the National Theater of the Deaf, choreographing their Lewis Carroll adaptation, "Curiouser and Curiouser," and co-directing productions of "Peer Gynt" and "Ophelia." The company has also choreographed a non-traditional "Nutcracker" for the Ballet du Rhin in France, and directed the Men Dancers tour for the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival centennial celebration of the birth of modern dance legend Ted Shawn.

The company has appeared on television in a variety of forms. It has been featured on both PBS "Great Performances" and "Dance in America" series, and has been seen late at night on "The Tonight Show," and early in the morning on "Sesame Street "and CBS "Sunday Morning."

Tickets for the March 5 performance are $32/29; UI student $28/12; senior citizen $25.60/23.20; and youth $16/14.50.

This event is supported by Cantebury Inn and Suites through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: .

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: <>.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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