The groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed dance company Pilobolus today unveiled a behind-the-scenes trailer of its all-new work, Automaton. Watch the video below! The piece will have its New York premiere as part of Pilobolus's 2012 Joyce Theater engagement, from July 16 through August 11.
A product of Pilobolus's International Collaborators Project, which curates and convenes multi-disciplinary artists to choreograph using Pilobolus's creative method with the company's directors and dancers, Automaton was created by internationally renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Pilobolus Associate Artistic Director Renée Jaworski in collaboration with dancers Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Matt Del Rosario, Eriko Jimbo, Jordan Kriston, Jun Kuribayashi, Manelich Minniefee and Nile Russell.
Automaton is described as a cyborg of a dance that takes place in a mirrored world somewhere between Tron and Metropolis. Deep emotions punctuate the intoxicating rhythms of the machine as we experience an emotional journey through a time that seems yet to come.
"I think this has always been the power of Pilobolus: when you see them move, you see regular human beings doing extraordinary things," said Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. "As an audience member, you feel impossible things become possible."
Automaton was commissioned by the American Dance Festival with support from the SHS Foundation and the Charles L. and Stephanie Reinhart Fund. Automaton was created through Pilobolus's International Collaborators Project, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Litchfield County Friends of Pilobolus.
In 2007, to expand its collaborative practices, Pilobolus launched the International Collaborators Project, a series of collective choreographic projects with multi-disciplinary artists, such as writer and illustrator, Maurice Sendak; the Israeli choreographic team, Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak; the remarkable American puppeteer, Basil Twist; Pulitzer Prize-winner, comic artist Art Spiegelman; the Grammy-winning American composer and musician Dan Zanes; the band OK Go; the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory directed by Professor Daniela Rus; the Japanese butoh choreographer Takuya Muramatsu; the radio program Radiolab; the MacArthur "Genius" Award-winning juggler Michael Moschen; and the Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The interactive video that Pilobolus created with OK Go and Google, "All Is Not Lost", was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale's "contemporary musical," Anonymous Society. Since then he has made more than 15 fully-fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of awards, including the Fringe First award in Edinburgh, the special prize at the BITEF Festival in Belgrade, the promising choreographer prize at the Nijinsky Awards in Monte Carlo, the Movimentos award in Germany and the Helpmann award from Australia in 2007. In 2008 Sadler's Wells named him an Associate Artist and in 2009 the Alfred Toëpfer Stiftung conferred its Kairos prize to him in recognition of his artistic philosophy and his quest for cultural dialogue. In 2008 and 2011 he was declared Choreographer of the Year by the dance magazine Tanz. While Cherkaoui's initial pieces were made as a core member of the Belgian collective, Les Ballets C. de la B. he also undertook parallel projects that both expanded and consolidated his artistic vision. He has worked with a variety of theatres, opera houses and ballet companies, and from 2004–2009 Cherkaoui was based in Antwerp where he was an artist in residence at Het Toneelhuis. Spring 2010 saw him reunited with co-choreographer Damien Jalet and Antony Gormley to make Babel(words), the third part of a triptych that began with Foi and Myth. Babel(words) recently triumphed at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning best new dance production and outstanding achievement in dance for Antony Gormley.
Pilobolus is a modern performance company, founded in 1971, that to this day wears its revolutionary stripes on its sleeves. In keeping with its fundamentally collective creative process, Pilobolus Dance Theatre now curates and convenes groups of diverse artists- including the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, Art Spiegelman, OK Go, Radiolab, and many others-to make inventive, athletic, witty, collaborative performance works on stage and screen using the human body as a medium for expression. Pilobolus makes art to build community. It teaches its group-based creative process to performers and non-dancers alike through popular, unique educational projects and programs. This collection of activities is called the Pilobolus Institute. Pilobolus also applies its method of creative invention to a wide range of movement services for film, advertising, publishing, commercial clients, and corporate events. This division is called Pilobolus Creative Services. The 2012 season marks Pilobolus's 41st year. In keeping with the energy and spirit of its biological namesake-a phototropic fungus that thrives in farmyards-the company has continued to grow toward the light, expanding and refining its unique methods of collective creative production to assemble a repertoire of over 100 choreographic works. While it has become a stable and influential force in the world of dance, Pilobolus remains as protean as ever, looking forward to the next 40 years of collaborating on the future.