American Dance Festival 80th Anniversary Season Primer – 605 Collective and Pilobolus

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself since the festival doesn’t kick off until June 13, but it’s good to plan ahead for a busy summer of show-going. Moving into the first full week of the festival, ADF introduces 605 Collective, the first of 11 ADF debuts. The 5-member company  based in Canada will perform Audible, a dance that addresses the diminishing of social skills resulting from modern “hyper-communication.”

Their languidly connected movements, throwing of limbs, graceful controlled body slams, and athletic physical contact reminds me of the Scottish Dance Theatre’s Drift, one of my favorite pieces performed in the 2010 and 2011 seasons at ADF. The unique elements of hip-hop give Audible a down-to-earth feel. I’m looking forward to experiencing them live.

Here is a little of Scottish Dance Theatre’s Drift for comparison.  Incidentally, this dance left an impression on me like no dance has since. I look forward to seeing if 605 Collective is similarly impressive. You can see all 11 minutes of the dance here, if you are so inclined.

Later the same week, one of ADF‘s staples and the one that seems to have the broadest appeal, Pilobolus, will perform 2 ADF commissioned world premiers along with a few earlier works. Odds are you have seen them, maybe on Sesame Street or Late Night with Conan O’Brien or The Oprah Winfrey Show, whether you realized you were seeing them or not. One of the world premiers this year is a collaboration with illusionists Penn and Teller to “create a tantalizing piece of choreography that explores athleticism, strength, confinement, and escape.” They’re known for their acrobatic and mixed media style. One of the earlier works they’re bringing in 2013 is their collaboration with the band OK Go, All is not Lost, an ADF 2011 world premiere. It’s a good example of the unique and unexpected type of performance art they deliver.

It would be tough to choose just one of these to see. 605 Collective will perform at Duke University’s Reynolds Industries Theater, and Pilobolus at DPAC. I find the Reynolds Industries Theater to be more the more intimate of the two, and to feel like a more natural home for art — aged and authentic. Based on a glance around the theater in previous years, if you plan to see Pilobolus get your tickets early. As exciting as it is to see the innovative collaborations of Pilobolus, though, I tend toward the simplicity of dancers on a stage.

Are you planning to see either or both of these companies? Have you seen either of them before? How will you choose which performances to attend this summer? (Will you aim for a certain venue, new companies, old favorites?)


Get more information about 605 Collective, Pilobolus and all the other ADF performances here.

605 Collective Performance info:

Reynolds Industries Theater

Saturday, June 15 at 8pm
Sunday, June 16 at 8pm
Monday, June 17 at 8pm


Pilobolus Performance info:

Durham Performing Arts Center

Thursday, June 20 at 8pm
Friday, June 21 at 8pm
Saturday, June 22 at 8pm
Children’s Saturday Matinee
at 1pm

$54, $46, $26, $18

Tickets on sale May 13

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By Denise Cerniglia

Postmodern experientialist of the arts. Follow my public posts on Facebook at to keep up with mostly dance, some opera and classical music happenings. Also, visit my dance photo blog at