Tumbling onto stage like rubber balls tipped out of a jar, the dancers of the Connecticut-based company Pilobolusembody unpretentious exuberance. They coalesce, joining their bodies behind a scrim, and their shadows form an elephant extending its trunk, or a flickering candle, or a Rorschach blot. It’s a show-stopping trick, and one that’s won Pilobolus a place in popular culture, including a plum spot on the 2007 Academy Awards telecast and a guest appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Audiences at the troupe’s upcoming Kennedy Center performance can expect to see new twists on shadow-puppetry, as Pilobolus performs Darkness and Light. Developed in collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist, the piece debuted last summer to critical acclaim for its exploration of metamorphosis, a long-standing Pilobolus theme. The troupe will also perform several older works, including Walklyndon, which turns the simple act of walking across a stage into an opportunity for acrobatics, comedy, and slapstick.
Pilobolus performs Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4, at The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. $22–$65. (202) 467-4600.