Do you remember the first time you were awed by the magic of shadows? Perhaps, like me, it was when you first saw the shadow of somebody’s hand magically turn into a rabbit or dog against a wall.
Suddenly, a shape that I was so familiar with had become something completely different! For most, that initial magic has faded a bit with age, but the experimental dance troupe Pilobolus is bringing all that wonder back. Their performances in shadow and dance turn bodies into elephants, dogs, flowers, and more, testing the limits of our understanding.
“Good ideas are like a mouse in your house. You know he’s there, you don’t know when you’re going to see him or where it’s going to be so you just set a lot of traps and you just be patient.”—Matt Kent Artistic Director, Pilobolus.
Pilobolus is well known for their out of the box approach to dance. Their art pushes the perceptions of an audience, with the movements of the group coming together to form something completely unified and very often otherworldly.
In fact, we wrote about their work quite some time ago, but it’s definitely time to bring you an update. Here’s our original article for you to visit later:
The group started in 1971 at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire as a collaboration between classmates in a dance class they took as amateurs. Their first composition was named Pilobolus after the fungus Pilobolus crystallinus, an organism one of the founder’s fathers was studying at the time. 1 (We love a good fungus story here at Ever Widening Circles.)
It’s hard to put the mind-bending nature of their work into words. Some time ago they began performing Shadowland, a performance that took shadow dance, puppetry, and performance to an entirely new place and we were lucky to find this remarkable video. It defies convention and understanding.
So, how do you even begin to have the creativity to take on something as remarkable as Shadowland? WIRED recently sat down the dancers and creative directors to explore how this magic works and test the limits of their creativity with some on the spot shadow improv! (Check out WIRED’s youtube channel. It is really eye-opening and full of thought leaders like this.)
Celebrating the Wonder-Full!
What happened to the sense of wonder we once had at the world? Where did that wonder and awe go at even the most simple, magical moments? Why do those marvels have to go away as we age?
Perhaps things like Shadowland tap into some desire to continue to see the world as wonder-full—truly full of wonder, long past our childhood. These artists allow us to see the world as delightfully inexplicable, and get comfortable with some mystery.
Art has the power to remind us to see wonder around us a little more often. Even if we don’t always understand it, it can give us a place to question freely, to be in awe, to not have to have the “right” answer at hand.
So, get out there, find some wonder around you, and maybe, grab a flashlight and start getting creative!
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
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