‘Shadowland’ by Pilobolus tours to Atlanta

Pilobolus' 'Shadowland'. Photo by Ian Douglas.
Pilobolus' 'Shadowland'. Photo by Ian Douglas.

Ferst Center for the Arts, Atlanta.
October 27, 2016.

Pilobolus returned to Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts recently after last visiting in April 2014. The world-renowned troupe brought its tech-heavy show Shadowland to the Peach State capital.

'Shadowland'. Photo by Ian Douglas.

‘Shadowland’. Photo by Ian Douglas.

Perfect for a university that puts a strong emphasis on science, engineering and design, this engaging and inventive show was welcomed by a packed theater.

Having toured the world numerous times, Shadowland is certainly not new – but its concept is still so original that many viewers have yet to see anything else like it. By using perfectly angled and distanced stage lights with high quality screens, Pilobolus dancers are able to create another world made up of shadows and mysterious characters.

The show commences with a young teenage girl preparing for bed in her modest bedroom. Her parents spy her putting on lipstick and acting grown up in front of the mirror to her dismay. As she falls asleep longing for her independence, she suddenly wakes up to her walls spinning and the darkness swallowing her as she slips into unknown territory – Shadowland.

This scary place follows the fluid logic of a dream. In cartoonish, projected shadow play, viewers watch her encounter numerous scenes and people, both kind and abusive.

Throughout, signature Pilobolus movement is presented — with acrobatic contemporary dance showcasing all the terrific and terrifying new wonders of Shadowland.

'Shadowland' by Pilobolus. Image courtesy of Sharonne Lipman.

‘Shadowland’ by Pilobolus. Image courtesy of Sharonne Lipman.

From the start, when her bed comes “alive” (it’s made up of male dancers) and spins and floats her around her bedroom, the lead girl (danced by star Heather Jean Favretto) takes part in many wild and mind-bending Shadowland encounters. Some visually intriguing ones include a flower that grows and blooms, a car ride with a friendly cowboy, enslavement by a greedy circus master, and a romance with a centaur.

Created in collaboration with Steven Banks, lead writer for the playful and surreal animated series SpongeBob Squarepants, Shadowland is set to original music by David Poe. With all lighting designed by Neil Peter Jampolis, the production is truly one-of-a-kind.

This show is highly recommended for older kids and young teens, as it serves as a fanciful and whimsical introduction to theater arts and contemporary dance.

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.

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