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TED2005

Pilobolus: A dance of "Symbiosis"

February 25, 2005

Two Pilobolus dancers perform "Symbiosis." Does it trace the birth of a relationship? Or the co-evolution of symbiotic species? Music: "God Music," George Crumb; "Fratres," Arvo Part; "Morango…Almost a Tango," Thomas Oboe Lee.

Pilobolus - Dance company
This collaborative dance company is acclaimed for its mix of humor, invention, and drama. Drawing inspiration from biology (how many dance troupes would name themselves after a fungus that thrives in cow dung?), Pilobolus has created a dance vocabulary all its own. Full bio

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Pilobolus - Dance company
This collaborative dance company is acclaimed for its mix of humor, invention, and drama. Drawing inspiration from biology (how many dance troupes would name themselves after a fungus that thrives in cow dung?), Pilobolus has created a dance vocabulary all its own.

Why you should listen

Pilobolus began as an experiment among three guys and one puzzled professor in a Dartmouth dance class back in 1970. It was survival of the giddiest, as the three non-dancers goofed around with the material they'd been given -- themselves -- and got entangled in science-inspired poses (think: "soft-belly protoplasmic thing") and movements. From these humble, biological beginnings has emerged an innovative, unlikely and almost-uncategorizable dance company that combines athleticism, grace and humor with a profound sense of unity.

Their smooth, organic choreography -- featuring unusual partnering and lifts -- often blurs the lines between individual performers, creating a sense of dance-troupe-as-organism. Still evolving after 35 years, Pilobolus has built up a repertoire of more than 85 works and received numerous awards, including the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in choreography. Their hilarious appearance at the 2007 Oscars -- where they built witty silhouettes to punctuate the ceremony -- brought the troupe further into the public eye.

Their latest work is called Shadowland.

The original video is available on TED.com
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