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Dance company to infect Chico with contagious contortions

Trevor Whitney

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Chico Performances presents the internationally acclaimed dance company Pilobolus
Nov. 11 in Laxson Auditorium. Photo courtesy of Chico Performances

Internationally-acclaimed dance company Pilobolus will chasse into Laxson Auditorium 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11. The company, which has performed in Chico previously, has also performed in TV commercials, NFL games and the 2007 Academy Awards.

One of the show’s five pieces is a collaboration with renowned illusionists Penn & Teller. The full extent of the duo’s involvement is a mystery, but it’s been confirmed that they aren’t part of the tour.

However, the audience can at least expect to hear Penn Jillette’s voice thrown in over the magic and whimsy of the dancers.

Collaboration between the dancers and artistic directors is the backbone of Pilobolus.

Dancer Derion Loman, 24, is in three of Tuesday’s pieces and said that he was able to offer input for all of them.

“The director will come in with an idea or some sort of basic structure, or sometimes no structure at all,” he said, “and have the dancers improvise until we start to find ideas that work.”

Loman was just an average, undeclared student at UC Santa Barbara with no prior dance training before he stumbled into, and eventually waltzed out of, a dance class. Now he’s a professional with degrees in dance and psychology, sharing the artistry of what he loves to do for a living.

Pilobolus also aims to integrate the audience into the show, Loman says.

“We want to create an experience where during intermission, they don’t just go straight to their phones for gratification,” he said. “We want the audience to feel the need to discuss what’s happened in person and share the experience.”

Loman said that people who don’t live to dance might also enjoy the production side of the performance.

Most shows close the curtains when the sets are changed, but in Pilobolus’ shows, the curtains are left open so the audience can watch the tech crew work. This helps keep the audience locked in when the dancers are offstage, enhancing the overall experience.

The company will also hold a master show at noon Nov. 12. This show is mostly geared toward kids, but will also include acts not featured the night before.

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Performance Details

  • Date: Tuesday, Nov. 11
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Laxson Auditorium
  • Price for Chico State student: $10

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Tickets can be purchased online or at the University Box Office.

Trevor Whitney can be reached at [email protected] or @nicegrandmas on Twitter.

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Dance company to infect Chico with contagious contortions