Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty

  • Thur Mar 28
Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty

with filmmaker Jeff Ruoff ’85 in person

Jeff Ruoff

“Against the pastoral backdrops of Dartmouth College, the birthplace of Pilobolus in 1971, and the collective’s longtime home in Washington Depot, CT, Ruoff tells the history of Pilobolus through the words and the movement of the group as it exists today. Pilobolus is America’s most famous dance collective, and arguably one of America’s most successful dance companies. The group’s storied beginnings as a bunch of jocks with no formal dance training, their the democratic, non-hierarchical artistic process and their ability to flow in, out, and around mainstream popular culture have made them darlings of the dance world and the subjects of intense critical debate. The foundation for the film was Pilobolus’ return to Dartmouth College in 2010 to premiere "Hapless Hooligan," a quirky collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman. While the glimpse into the creative process of "Hapless Hooligan" would have made for an interesting film, the film took on a very different life when one of Pilobolus’ founders, Jonathan Wolken, died the day before filming began. The most poignant moment of the film features the Pilobolus classic, "Gnomen." As the audience hears members of the Pilobolus community remembering Wolken, we watch one of his great creative collaborations, a piece that stands the test of time with its intricate intensity. "Gnomen" is a quartet exploring masculinity and group dynamics. In the film, "Gnomen" becomes a tribute to Wolken and a metaphor for the unique collaborative process that Pilobolus has been able to maintain for forty years. In "Gnomen," there is a constant struggle between the individual and the group. As with every Pilobolus piece I’ve ever seen, the most interesting movement in "Gnomen" happens when the dancers are all working together rather than soloing. Pilobolus is not about the virtuosity of any one of its members, but about what is created when they create something together. The whole of Pilobolus is greater than any one of its members or any one of its dances.” (Freeform)

Shown with Jan Krawitz's ‘75 Drive-In Blues (1987, 30 minutes), which celebrates the history of movie-going in America.


Digital Projection color
1 hour 8 minutes
release year/country
2012 USA