Pilobolus’ “Symbiosis,” A New World of Dance

Posted on November 15, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

To be honest, we’re not quite sure what to say about this, as it left both Dr. Chuck and I a little speechless. Today’s web-find pushes at a lot of edges, as all great works of human creativity do.

How does one describe the work of a group named for a barnyard fungus?

Name aside, there’s something amazing here, though we can’t quite define it, and in the end, maybe if we try too hard to understand things, we lose the ability to just take it all in (can’t we ever just be happy with the mystery?)

Introducing Pilobolus’ Symbiosis:

Via:TED 1

The movements, the intricacy, the strength, and the skill on display here is out of this world, and the overall marvel reminds me in such a unique way of the limitless possibility in the world … I’m officially a fan of Pilobolus!

The History of Pilobolus

I don’t know about you, but once I fell in love with what I saw in their Symbiosis performance, I simply had to know more about the company behind the transfixing dance. Where did they come from? How long have they been touring and performing? What the heck does Pilobolus mean?!

If you’re curious like me, here’s an excerpt from their website, pilobolus.com:

Pilobous – named after a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy, and strength – is a dance company founded by a group of Dartmouth College students in 1971. Pilobolus continually forms diverse collaborations that break down barriers between disciplines and challenge the way we think about dance. Physically and intellectually, the company engages and inspires audiences around the world through performance, education and consultation.

Pilobolus propels itself in a variety of directions to reach these goals. The original company, Pilobolus Dance Theater, has been touring its 115 pieces of repertory to more than 64 countries over the last 42 years. Pilobolus’ Shadowland, the company’s evening-length show currently touring Europe, the Middle East and Asia, has been seen by more than a half-million people in the three years since it was created.” 2

Image: The Pilobolus 'people swatch'
The Pilobolus People swatch

Pilobolus has not only conquered the world of interpretive dance, and spawned an entire business including education, design and movement services for film/television, publishing, and advertising.  Pilobolus has also earned its fair share of commercial fame in Hollywood over the years. In the mid-2000s, when the Internet caught onto the group, Pilobolus earned the following acclamation:

  • Clients including the NFL, Wharton Business School, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Google, and more.
  • Appearances on popular television shows like Sesame Street, Oprah, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 60 Minutes, and the (2007) 79th Annual Academy Awards Show, to name a few.
  • The gaining of a TED fellowship after their 2005 performance at TED2005 in Montery, California.
  • Berlin’s Critic’s Prize
  • The Scotsman Award
  • The Brandeis Award
  • A Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming”
  • The Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Choreography”
  • 2011 Guinness World Record for fitting most people, 26, into a Mini Cooper car
  • Grammy Award nomination for work with companies OK Go and Google
  • First collective winner of the Dance Magazine Award, given to artists who make lasting contributions to the field. 3

Image: Pilobolus' 'People pod'
Pilobolus’ People Pod

Image: Pilobolus' 'Color tree'
Pilobolus’ Color Tree

One of the more odd-duck awards out there (that still always carries a great deal of prestige) is the Guinness Book of World Records. The troop achieved this award by fitting 26 people into a Mini Cooper car! Now we know you want to see that… because who doesn’t, right?! So don’t trouble yourself with searching – we’ve found it for you, below!

Via: EMC 4

Fun, huh? If you’ve got a few more minutes, scroll down to the bottom of this page to find 6 other articles I can recommend. Our ad-free project here at EWC has no agenda except to prove this is still an amazing world (our motto), even with all the bad news the media shows us so relentlessly. Here’s just a handful of the insightful wonders you’ll find here:

Collage w louisa's dino head

Learn more about Pilobolus on their website, pilobolus.com, which includes more history about the group, performance ideology and techniques, news and upcoming performance info, and much more, including a way to get involved and donate for those of you interested in helping spread the word about this weirdly wonderful art form!

You can also hop on over to our pages for the arts, the sciences, or innovation to scroll down through our articles that will put a spring in your step!

Meanwhile, stay open, curious, and hopeful.

-Dr. Lynda

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Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.


  1. Pilobolus. “A Dance of “Symbiosis”” TED.com. TED, Feb. 2005. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ted.com/talks/pilobolus_perform_symbiosis?utm_campaign=&utm_content=roadrunner-rrshorturl&share=1acd4214a5&utm_source=everwideningcircles.com&utm_medium=on.ted.com-none&awesm=on.ted.com_i0STr#t-237600>.
  2. What is Pilobolus?Pilobolus. Pilobolus, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <http://www.pilobolus.org/#pilobolus/6/1>.
  3. What is Pilobolus?Pilobolus. Pilobolus, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <http://www.pilobolus.org/#pilobolus/6/1>.
  4. “EMC Breaks Record with Pilobolus – 26 People in a Mini Cooper.”YouTube. EMC, 15 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RulI73Vq2LQ>.
Categorized: Art Dance TED TalksTagged: