Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

‘Shadowland’ to put Pilobolus in Eisenhower spotlight Oct. 18

American dance-theater troupe Pilobolus will step into the spotlight with “Shadowland,” the company’s first Penn State performance since 2012, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

“Shadowland”—a collaboration among Pilobolus dancers, “SpongeBob SquarePants” creator Steven Banks and musician-composer David Poe—tells the coming-of-age story of a girl wandering through an abstract dreamscape and discovering who she was born to be. The production features multiple screens, strategic lighting and a play on perspectives to create a unique, silhouetted stage event.

Purchase tickets, which are $38 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $28 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

In 2006, Pilobolus created a TV advertisement for Hyundai that featured the company’s dancers assembled into the shape of a car using a single light source and a screen. A few months later, the troupe again employed the technique when it recreated iconic film images for the 79th annual Academy Awards TV broadcast. Out of those creations came a new style of shadow-theater—“Shadowland.”

Pilobolus recruited Banks for narrative assistance and to help the dancers make sense of their abstract movements. His studies at Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College, as well as experience writing stage plays, were an asset. Poe—who has worked with music artists including Grace Potter and Daryl Hall and toured with rock-music legends Bob Dylan and Tori Amos—was brought on board to create the orchestral and electronic soundtrack for the production. The show opened to rave reviews in 2009 and has been on tour since.

“Visually and mechanically, ‘Shadowland’ is deft, teeming with clever tricks of the body, scenery and light,” wrote a New York Times reviewer after a 2015 performance.

“Shadowland” contains nudity.

Find more information about the production.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Pilobolus Founding Artistic Director Robby Barnett, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Barnett will also be the featured speaker in a post-performance discussion with audience members.

The Passionate Supporters of Dance—Judy Albrecht, Lynn Sidehamer Brown, Elizabeth Hanley, Debra Latta, Lillian Upcraft and Pat Williams—sponsor the performance.