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Pilobolus Dance to perform Oct. 15 at Redfern Arts Center

Pilobolus Group
Pilobolus Group

Pilobolus Dance Theater, considered the most popular and athletic modern dance troupe in the U.S., will be back at the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College for a mind-blowing performance that includes a new dance created in collaboration with magicians Penn and Teller, on Tuesday, October 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Theatre. Returning with Pilobolus is Keene State College alumni Shawn Ahern, who grew up in Dublin, N.H., and graduated from KSC’s dance program in 2010.

Tickets range from $45 to $30 and $5 for KSC students. For tickets, call the Box Office at 603-358-2168 or order online at

Two free community programs are scheduled around the performance. Pilobolus dancers will present “Building the Body Alphabet” community workshop for families on Monday, October 14, at 11 a.m. at the Colonial Theatre in Keene. The workshop explores collaboration, decision-making, and invention with group-based creative play suitable for all ages. After the October 15 performance, the dancers will participate in a post-show talkback and reception in the Redfern lobby.

Pilobolus also will participate in a master class for Keene State dance students led by Shawn Ahern, who danced as a KSC student with Pilobolus when they were last at the Redfern in 2007. Ahern started dancing at a young age in a dance studio led by his mother Christina Ahern, now called Monadnock Academy of Movement Arts in Peterborough, N.H.

Pilobolus known for its mind-blowing performances at the Academy Awards, the Olympics, and the Grammy’s, has built a giant and fervent international following by consistently proving the human body to be the most expressive, universal, and downright magical of mediums. Their program at the Redfern includes nine dances and performance videos including a new fantasy work “esc” created in collaboration with magic duo Penn and Teller, in which the dancers move through confinement, fetters, and eventually escape. A 2012 dance “Automaton,” a collaboration with the internationally renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, questions the difference between human and machine. Somewhere between the cyborg world of Tron and Bladerunner, “Automaton” takes place in a mirrored world that allows the audience to view multiple angles at the same time. One of Pilobolus’ classic works, “Day Two” enacts the second day of the creation of the world, from its earliest forms of life to the moment at which creatures of the earth take flight into the air. One of the company’s most amazing works, set to a soundtrack from Brian Eno and Talking Heads, “Day Two,” captures the awe of evolution and the wonder of existence ending with the dancers sliding across a watery stage.

Pilobolus—named after a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy and strength—has its roots in New Hampshire, founded by a group of Dartmouth College students in 1971. Pilobolus has continually formed diverse collaborations that break down barriers between disciplines and challenge the way audiences think about dance.

The Redfern performance of Pilobolus Dance Theater is sponsored by The Kingsbury Fund, and presented in collaboration with the KSC Theatre and Dance Department. The community workshop is in collaboration with The Colonial Theatre in Keene. This performance is funded in part by the New England Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

About Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond

The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Since then, the Redfern stage has hosted hundreds of amazing shows, from internationally renowned artists to emerging young talents to KSC’s own student performers. Over the years, the Redfern has expanded its outreach programs, curricular and community partnerships, becoming an indispensable resource for the Keene community and beyond.

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