The New York-based ensemble Pilobolus recreates the feeling of being outdoors in its 2017 work “Branches,” which is included in the dance company’s program presented by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on July 24.
“The piece is a dialogue about and with nature,” explains Pilobolus’s co-artistic director Matt Kent, who choreographed the work with the company’s other co-artistic director, Renée Jaworski. “Renée and I took seven dancers out for a long hike in our area to feel the wind on their faces and do what really became a walking meditation. We wanted our dancers to experience the outdoors before the creation of movements that communicate the feeling of nature.”
“Branches” was commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2017 and premiered at the festival last summer.
“We’ve toured it around the country since the premiere, and I’ve got to say, it’s a crowd pleaser,” adds Kent.
“Branches” is one of four pieces on Pilobolus’s Santa Fe program that also features “Rushes,” “Symbiosis” and “Gnomen.”
“All our dances are created in collaboration with our dancers,” says Kent. “We come to rehearsals with a set of questions, ideas and themes that we can explore with them. They’re incredible artists themselves.”
Pilobolus, a 46-year-old dance company that was founded at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College in 1971, showcases physically exciting and demanding works that are like their namesake, the light-loving Pilobolus crystallinus fungus, whose spores accelerate from zero to 45 miles per hour in the first millimeter of their flight.
During the past four decades, Pilobolus has performed on Broadway, at the Oscars and for the Olympic games. The company, which has appeared on television and in movies, advertisements, schools and businesses, has created more than 120 dance works to date.