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click to enlarge Pilobolus Dance Theatre
  • Pilobolus Dance Theatre

Implausobolus Innovative, powerful Pilobolus dances the unbelievable

Imagine an interactive playground with a jungle gym that has an ever-changing configuration, one that anticipates your whims and inspirations. A foothold materializes here, a place to slide appears there; it's constantly responsive to your shifting body.

Imagine you're young and supple and almost criminally fit. Every muscle responds with tireless enthusiasm, and there's no sacrifice of flexibility for strength. The only limits seem to be those imposed by gravity -- and even then, you have your ways.

Welcome to the world of Pilobolus (pronounced Pill-LOB-o-lus) Dance Theatre, a critically acclaimed dance company out of Connecticut. Their work (we desk lackeys may enviably view it as "play") entails a day-to-day discovery of the human form through intense sessions of improvisation and creative collaboration.

Under the leadership of four artistic directors, the Pilobolus dancers (four men and two women) are basically transportable playgrounds for each other. Plid thighs become steppingstones to shoulders, an outstretched body suspended by arms and legs becomes a platform on which to swing.

Pilobolus -- also the name of "a sun-loving fungus that grows in pastures" -- first germinated in a Dartmouth College dance class in 1971. Rumors have circulated that many of the original participants were football players. Though this is false, the legacy of their athleticism is clear; a dancer carrying the weight of one, two, even three dancers at once is common, almost implausibly so. But seeing is believing, and your chance to inspect comes next week when Pilobolus brings 30 years' worth of physical discovery and skill to the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center and the Pikes Peak Center.

A much-anticipated part of their performance is the recent work, The Brass Ring, which was commissioned by the 2002 Cultural Olympiad and had its world premiere at the Winter Games last month. Featuring a "grab bag of Americana," the score includes Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and a Scott Joplin rag. The choreography showcases and celebrates the athleticism of the dancers, a fitting tribute to the Olympic athletes.

Also featured in their show are the dramatic moments and stunning imagery of Tsu Ku Tsu, a favorite in the Pilobolus repertoire, which opens the evening. Performed to traditional Japanese music, the piece is quietly gripping; in one scene, three dancers in shining silk robes balance on the crouched backs of the other three, who trudge across the stage like downtrodden human chariots.

This is not to suggest that Pilobolus is heavy handed. On the contrary, though poignant moments abound, Pilobolus is masterfully witty.

I'm not sure what good deeds the Pilobolus dancers performed in their past lives to deserve such skill, artistry and physical prowess, but there's no doubt these are lucky human beings with almost superhuman abilities. Go see them and be amazed.

-- Tess Powers

capsule

click to enlarge The Motet
  • The Motet

Pilobolus Dance Theatre

Sangre de Cristo Arts Center
Thurs., April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20. Call 719/295-7200.
(Only single seats available)

Pikes Peak Center
Fri., April 5, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $19-$36. Call 520-SHOW.

28 Thursday

Anyone who passes up a Lina Wurtmuller film, especially a free one with Giancarlo Giannini, is a fool. Understand?

Wurtmuller is responsible for a collection of amazing Italian films detailing social conditions in the sensual country then and now, with the best star, Giannini, usually playing a slightly underhanded but wholly lovable guy who just can't get a break. In 1972's The Seduction of Mimi, Giannini plays the title character, a Sicilian laborer who opposes the Mafia's union rule and therefore finds himself shipped off to Turin. There he falls in love, but due to a stock Wurtmuller turn of events, everything Mimi has slips through his fingers.

The film is a beautiful mix of satire, tragic comedy and social commentary in an incomparable style. As part of Colorado College's Seduction Italian Style film series, Mimi will be screened in the WES room of the Worner Center, on the northwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. The movie starts at 7 p.m.. Call 389-6724.

After the initial shock of 9/11, one of the first things we began to discuss around the office was whether or not we'd ever see the World Trade towers again. Albums set for release featuring the New York skyline on the cover were pulled back for redesign, the towers were airbrushed out of existing ads, movies and television shows, and it seemed to be considered in poor taste to resurrect them on anything anyone else might see.

Now, six months later, are people ready to see the towers again, or the footage, as artwork? Roger Copeland, professor of theater and dance at Oberlin College, discusses how artists have responded to reality in the past, and how some are dealing with 9/11 now. Can the events be seen as surrealism? Copeland will use video footage to show images and coverage of the attacks against classic surrealist imagery and Greek tragedy this afternoon at 2 p.m. in Colorado College's Worner Center, on the northeast corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. Admission to the lecture, titled "Art in the Aftermath of 9/11" is free; call 389-6607.

30 Saturday

It's not jazz, it's not funk, it's not tribal; it's all that and Boulder at the Acoustic Coffee Lounge, 5152 Centennial Blvd. The Motet brings its drum-based West African jazz jams to the club tonight at 9 p.m. Featuring Dave Watts on drums, keyboardist Greg Raymond (dig the organ), bassist Paul McDaniel, Mike Tiernan on guitar and hyperactively soulful vocalist Jans Ingber, the Motet is reaching national fame from their home base in the Boulder/Nederland area. Tickets are $9, a fair price just to watch Ingber dance, let alone sing. Call 268-9952. The show is all-ages.

There is so much art liberally flowing from Colorado College... Gaylord Hall, the big open space in the Worner Center (northwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre), will be filled with stacks and stacks of art ready to be auctioned off as part of the annual Women's Art Festival. The art, by CC faculty, students, and off-campus artists, can be viewed from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It's a silent auction.

click to enlarge Pleasure Forever: hailing from fogy, decadent San Francisco
  • Pleasure Forever: hailing from fogy, decadent San Francisco

Then later on in Packard Hall (across Cache La Poudre), the festival continues with a night of student and community talent beginning at 7:30. We're assuming that means musicians, dancers, comediennes and the like, but there's no way to tell for sure. You could be getting Gallagher, you could be getting The Vagina Monologues. Not knowing is part of the fun, like paternity tests, and the Olympics.

Admission to both events is free, but tickets are required for the talent night. Call 389-6607.

31 Sunday

This Easter brings forth the Pikes Peak Community College Masquers performing Godspell in the Mainstage Theater at the south campus, 5675 S. Academy Blvd. Thou shalt rock upon this holy day -- Godspell won a Grammy for its musical score and legions of fans are wild for clowns telling the story of Christ according to St. Matthew. Tickets are $5 to $10; call 540-7418. The show opens this afternoon at 3 -- plenty of time to digest the 6-inch solid chocolate bunny you gorged ears first. Godspell runs through April 19.

02 Tuesday

Leave it to Broadway to make Catholic school comedic, nuns purveyors of kitsch and religion "rollicking"... Late Night Catechism comes to the Pikes Peak Center's Centennial Hall for the next few weeks, trailing glow-in-the-dark rosaries in its wake. The show opens tonight at 8 and runs through April 14. Tickets run from $27.50 to $30; call 520-9090.

Myth, fertility, eroticism, free-market economies... Lewis Hyde covered it all in his 1983 book The Gift, one of those masterworks that changed a lot of lives. Hyde will read from and discuss his works as part of Colorado College's visiting writers series in Packard Hall, on the southwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. Admission is free; call 389-6607. The reading begins at 8 p.m.

-- Kristen Sherwood

All Night Rock Fest Talent cascades down on Industrial Nation

There's no room for flowery intros; we must use all available space to express our unwavering desire that you park your butt at Industrial Nation this Saturday night. Several worthy bands are playing, the likes of which are rarely seen in these parts.

Sparta is composed of Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar -- all former members of the now defunct At The Drive-In -- and bassist Matt Miller. Rising like a 'fro-less Phoenix from ATDI's ashes, Sparta has enough edgy melodicism to carry the new group through the rubble and onward toward the heights that, in the end, killed their former band.

Also performing is Thursday, a young group of artsy Jersey boys whose depressed, angry gazes have long since worn holes in the tops of their shoes. The band claims to mesmerize its audiences, although the hard-core mix of keening and fit-throwing might just be shocking them into submission.

Pleasure Forever, yet another band on the bill, is a trio that hails from foggy, decadent San Francisco. Completely mirroring the atmosphere in which they live, Pleasure's music carries with it all of the weirded-out deepness of art rock balanced with a supremely sensual, provocative and almost intimidating sexual rock energy.

These three bands, plus Deadlow Tide, play at 8 p.m. and tickets run from $8 to $10. Check out

http://www.sodajerkpresents.com or call 520-0980 for details.

-- Kristen Sherwood

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