Pilobolus to present ‘Big Five OH!’ at Jorgensen Center

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The Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts has served as the University of Connecticut’s prime source of entertainment since its opening in December 1955. After hosting virtual performances for 18 months, the program was pleased to announce its return to in-person settings with over 25 events lined up for this fall. One such event is “Big Five OH!,” which is set to premiere on the Jorgensen stage Friday, Nov. 5. The performance will be led by renowned dance company Pilobolus in celebration of its 50th anniversary. 

Pilobolus experienced humble beginnings in 1971, when Dartmouth College students Moses Pendleton, Jonathan Wolken and Steve Johnson met through a dance composition class. The first dance they created was called “Pilobolus,” which eventually blossomed into the “rebellious dance company” it is today. As it states on the company’s website, “Pilobolus has tested the limits of human physicality to explore the beauty and the power of connected bodies” — a feat that will likely appear in ‘Big Five OH!’” 

“Big Five OH!” is an amalgamation of the company’s earlier works, including titles like “Megawatt,” “Shizen,” “Solo from the Empty Suitor,” “Behind the Shadows” and “Day Two.” More information regarding the show is displayed on the company’s website

“We’re inviting fans from all decades to join us in celebrating a half century of radical creativity and boundary-pushing with a remixed retrospective: a hand-picked selection of pieces from vintage & visionary, reimagined as we question our own givens and turn traditions sideways,” the website reads. “It’ll be the Pilobolus you’ve grown to love – with wit, sensuality and stunning physical acumen.” 

Doors are scheduled to open at 7 p.m., while the performance is set to begin at 8 p.m. Further event and ticket information was recently announced in a Jorgensen press release. 

“Due to the need for continued flexibility surrounding COVID-19 safety precautions, only Fall 2021 event tickets are currently available for purchase at jorgensen.uconn.edu,” the release stated. “All Fall 2021 tickets will be sold as General Admission rather than assigned seating. Upon arrival, ushers will assist patrons with finding seats while following necessary social distancing requirements.” 

It’s hard to believe that one of the most profound examples of dance artistry could emerge from a single dance class. Listed in their bio, Pilobolus has received numerous accolades: “a TED Fellowship, a 2012 Grammy Award Nomination, a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming and several Cannes Lion Awards at the International Festival of Creativity.” A review from the Hartford Courant put it best in saying that, “Pilobolus is once again leaping, climbing, flitting and flying where others fear to tread.” 

The company makes its way to Jorgensen in a week. Half a century’s worth of imaginative work has been fulfilled through Pilobolus, and “Big Five OH!” is a means by which to commemorate those efforts in the same Promethean manner the group has embraced for 50 years. Failure to attend would only be a missed opportunity, so be sure to get your tickets now. 

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