Pilobolus Dance Theatre was formed 37 years ago in Connecticut and has since become an iconic American company, combining thrilling athleticism with imaginative choreography to create compelling and accessible performances -- the group was even featured on the Academy Awards a few years ago.
Andy Herro, 27, has been with Pilobolus since 2003. He'll be with the group when it performs at 8 p.m. Saturday in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts in Amherst. Tickets are $25, $15 for students. Visit www.ubcfa.org or call 645-ARTS for more information.
>What drew you to the company?
One of the beauties of Pilobolus is that it has no boundaries. We work with the bodies, abilities and interests that we have. We are free to explore what we feel and how we can move.
And another unique thing is that the dancers are part of the creative process. The way this company works is amazing: Our artistic directors come in and clean up choreography as we work on them. But then, they just send us out to work. We are given a lot of responsibility as artists, and can take pride in what we do. The dancers are even co-credited with the choreographers. It's an amazing model for any business to give its people that kind of power, and it's a great environment for success.
>You often wear next to nothing during performances.
When I first started, I was a little hesitant to be in so little on stage. But the more you work together, the bodies become kind of tools that you work with, rather than something sexual, just places that you need to grip. We connect together to accomplish these skills and not have any inhibitions.
>What kind of reactions do you get from people?
One of my favorites is when a guy says, "My wife dragged me to this -- and it was awesome!" People who come expecting just another "dance" performance are blown away by the physicality and the way we are able to move.
>You were a high school athlete, as well as an actor. You started out as a theater major in college. Did you think this is what you'd be doing?
Honestly, I thought I'd grow up, go to school, get a job, have a family. I never saw myself so deep into the arts, performing. I like to try to show others that anything is really possible, and encourage them to think outside the box and try to achieve more, to reach their goals.
-- Jana Eisenberg, Special to The News