Working as a Collective with “Shadowland” Creative Director Mark Fucik


NYU Skirball Student Insiders participate in a Pilobolus-inspired workshop with Shadowland Creative Director, Mark Fucik

On Thursday November 19, students gathered in NYU Skirball’s Studio where they met with the Creative Director of Pilobolus’s Shadowland, Mark Fucik, for an interactive workshop focusing on working as a collective to create new movement.

From dance to sociology majors, students were given the opportunity to connect their own interests of study to this creative process of working. For Pilobolus, it’s not so important that students are technically trained dancers as long as they have the willingness to move and work collaboratively, skills which benefit students of any major.


Mark began the workshop with spacial awareness exercises to get students familiar with their surroundings and familiar with the idea of using their bodies to fill empty space. Next, they played with the concept of leading and following and in groups they practiced seamlessly transferring movement from one person to the next.

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Mark explained the importance of the ensemble within the Pilobolus company. Since the success of their shapes and formations are tied to each member in the group, when one person is leading they also have to be following. The workshop participants then observed and imitated each others’ movement with the goal of making the sequences as precise as possible. Pilobolus performers often move as one unit and not individually. If one person is out of sync it is noticeable.


The workshop ended with the participants working in pairs to create interesting shapes using each others’ body weight.


One person acted as a base while the other partner perched on top. Partners played with using different points of contact to see how that affected their strength. The result: pure magic! Take a look at some of the interesting moments that came out of this final exercise:

Student Insider Eugenia commented on her experience of the workshop saying, “It’s always so nice to see people from different backgrounds come together to create something unexpectedly beautiful out of trust and imagination”.

Pilobolus’s Shadowland will run at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts from Nov.20-Dec.6

BEYOND THE STAGE with Pilobolus


Following sold-out performances throughout Europe and Asia, Pilobolus’s Shadowland makes its North American Premiere at NYU Skirball. Pilobolus’s Shadowland is a mix of shadow theater, dance, circus, and concert, incorporating multiple moving screens of different sizes and shapes to create a performance that merges projected images with front-of-screen choreography. Shadowland was the first show of its kind to combine shadow theater with dance and has since inspired many similar productions around the world

Pilobolus website

Review: BWW Review: Pilobolus Presents SHADOWLAND (BroadwayWorld)
“The remarkable quality of the Pilobolus dancers is that they can fulfill dual roles as both storytellers and athletic dancers.” —Jennifer Fried December 1, 2015

Review: Shadowland (Eye On the Arts, NY)
“The show’s strength lies in the charms and malleability of shadows, Pilobolus’ torrent of ideas, most winningly with their play on framing and perspectives.” —Deirdre Towers, November 29, 2015

Review: Shadowland  (Lighting and Sound America)
“You don’t find many — or any — dance reviews in this column, but, for sheer mastery of a specific stage effect, Shadowland is hard to beat.” —David Barbour, November 25 2015

Review: In “Shadowland,” Pilobolus invents a form of silhouetted kinetic poses (The Komisar Scoop)
“Pilobolus takes dance theater to a new dimension, transforming the performers to silhouetted figures behind a screen, using body artistry to turn dancers into shadows of elephants, café tables, lobsters and a centaur.” — Lucy Komisar, November 2015

Review: Stage Door: Shadowland, Ripcord (Huffington Post)
“It’s amazing what you can do with a dancer, a screen and eerie lighting.
Shadowland, a haunting, hypnotic phantasmagoria, now at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, is a triumph of ingenuity.” —Fern Siegel, November 24, 2015

Review: Pilobolus in ‘Shadowland’ (Stage Buddy)
“Shadowland is an Alice in Wonderland for the new age” —Melanie Brown November 24, 2015

Review: In ‘Shadowland’ Opening the Makeup Case and Unleashing a New World (The New York Times)
“Shadowland is deft, teeming with clever tricks of the body, scenery and light.”—Siobhan Burke, November 23 2015

“Shadowland is for adults and children alike. As much theater as dance, it’s theatrical, magical, and thoroughly entertaining.”—Alix Cohen, November 23, 2015

Review: Pilobolus: Shadowland North American Premiere (Critical Dance)
“Shadowland impresses as an edgy combination of dance, circus, acrobatics, and theatrical magic; a joyous extravaganza every bit as worthy of seasonal celebration as The Nutcracker.” —Jerry Hochman, November 21, 2015

Interview: Pilobolus’ Executive Director, Itamar Kubovy, on the North American Premiere of Shadowland (StageBuddy)
“World-renowned dance company Pilobolus premieres Shadowland later this month at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. We talked to Executive Director Itamar Kubovy about the show, the company’s process, and what’s in store for the future.” — Melanie Brown, November 12, 2015

Interview: BWW Interview: Itamar Kubovy Talks Pilobolus’ Shadowland (BroadwayWorld)
“Itamar Kubovy, one of the creators of the show, spoke with BroadwayWorld about how the magic of Shadowland is almost like “SpongeBob meets The Nutcracker.”— Reilly Hickey November 17, 2015

Interview: ‘A Fable Told Through Shadows’: Pilobolus’ Shadowland Makes U.S. Debut (DIYDancer)
“Escape into the world of shadow illusion this November when modern dance troupe Pilobolus brings its evening-length Shadowland to an American stage for the first time.”

Article:  Before Seeing Shadowland, See Five Videos of the Incredible Pilobolus Dance Company In Action (BroadwayBox)— November 19, 2015

Article: Pilobolus Turns Shadows Into Dance (TDF Stages)
“Since 1971, Pilobolus has stretched the ways in which dancers share and shift weight in modern dance” —Lauren Kay, November 19, 2015

Video clip: Pilobolus’ Shadowland on BBC One’s The One Show

Livestream Periscope Talk  November 21 4:00pm
Follow @nyuskirball on Periscope

Pre-Show Lobby Talk November 22 1:00pm
Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk given by the artistic team of Pilobolus. They will discuss the creation of Shadowland and the rediscovery of shadows as a contemporary narrative performance technique. Moderated by filmmaker, Ira Sachs.

Post-Show Discussion and Q&A November 23+24 and December 2+4

Join us for a post-show discussion and Q&A with the artists.

BEYOND THE STAGE with Heidi Latsky Dance and AXIS Dance Company

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In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Heidi Latsky Dance and AXIS Dance Company will perform together to create an unprecedented evening of innovative dance.

Heidi Latsky is known for using both conventional and unexpected performers.Somewhere is a series of intimate movement portraits that highlight the luminous appeal of a diverse unconventional cast. On Display, created for NYU Skirball, is a living gallery focusing on the themes of inclusion and diversity. Heidi Latsky will also be featured in Solo 1 as a prologue to Somewhere.

As seen on So You Think You Can Dance!, AXIS Dance Company is one of the world’s leading and most innovative ensembles of dancers with and without disabilities. AXIS will present two pieces: Divide, choreographed by Marc Brew, and to go again, a new work created by beloved choreographer Joe Goode.

Heidi Latsky Dance Website
“The mission of Heidi Latsky Dance is to redefine beauty and virtuosity through performance and discourse, using performers with unique attributes to bring rigorous, passionate and provocative contemporary dance to diverse audiences.”

AXIS Dance Company Website
“AXIS exists to change the face of dance and disability. ”

Trailer Heidi Latsky Dance “Somewhere”
Trailer AXIS Dance Company “Divide”
Interview with Marc Brew on “Divide”
Interview with Judith Smith, Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company
Interview with Joe Goode and his new work with AXIS Dance inspired by Veterans, “to go again”
Talks at Google with Heidi Latsky and Pilobolus

Podcast: Pod de Deux “This is Art EP. 13, Heidi Latsky & Jerron Herman

Blog: AXIS Dance

Article: Redefining a Dancer’s Body (Our Town)
“A new work features disabled and other dancers who challenge the conventional images of the art.”— Gabrielle Alfiero, November 5, 2015

Article: Heidi Latsky Dance and AXIS Dance Company “DANCE SPEAKS series” (Dance Enthusiast) — November 15, 2015

Article: AXIS and Heidi Latsky Dance to Honor Americans With Disabilities & Veterans This Fall at NYU Skirball (BroadwayWorld)
“The evening is the second presentation of NYU Skirball’s new DANCE SPEAKS a new annual series showcasing dance works that explore current issues that shape our lives and reflect our times”— September 24, 2015

Article: Beauty All Around (

Post-Show Discussion and Q&A November 15
A Conversation Between AXIS Dance Company and Heidi Latsky Dance

NYU Skirball, in collaboration with Dance/NYC, presents a conversation between AXIS Dance Company and Heidi Latsky Dance. Join us for a discussion with Judith Smith, Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company, and Heidi Latsky, Artistic Director/Choreographer/Performer of Heidi Latsky Dance, as they discuss the state and future of physically integrated dance, both locally and nationally, and offer up ways for audiences and other dance enthusiasts to get involved. Moderated by Lane Harwell, Executive Director of Dance/NYC.

 ASL interpreters will be present at the Post-Show Discussion, courtesy of NYU Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students With Disabilities.

BEYOND THE STAGE with Balletcollective


Acclaimed New York City Ballet choreographer Troy Schumacher brings artists at the forefront of their genres together to collaborate as equals as they create new, ballet-based works. The result is a series of thrilling, inventive pieces certified “mint-fresh” and “seriously experimental” by The New York Times. BalletCollective provides audiences the rare chance to experience NYCB dancers up close in works tailor-made for them featuring live music performed by the ensemble Hotel Elefant.

This season, BalletCollective presents the world premieres of two works, both inspired by series of commissioned photographs by Paul Maffi and Dafy Hagai respectively, with commissioned scores by music director and resident composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin) and Mark Dancigers (NOW Ensemble). The new works will be performed alongside All That We See and Dear and Blackbirds, both of which premiered last fall at NYU Skirball, and will leave you thinking “I simply want to see these dances again” (The New York Times). BalletCollective will perform at NYU Skirball on November 4th and 5th at 7:30pm.

Artist’s Website: BalletCollective

Video Clip: Invisible Divide 
Video Clip: Works & Process at the Guggenheim 

Preview Article: When Is Ballet Like a Photograph? (TDF Stages) “When Troy Schumacher discusses his five-year-old ballet company, he rarely uses the word “I” to describe its direction or approach. Instead, he chooses “we” again and again, and that’s right on target for the aptly named BalletCollective” — Lauren Kay, October 27, 2015

Preview Article: Dance This Week (The New York Times) “From that recent Guggenheim event, a solo, again for Mr. Coll, stands out hauntingly: he twisted his weight to and fro while balanced on one leg, as if racked by internal forces. This solo will be part of a longer work in the BalletCollective season at Skirball on Wednesday and Thursday; I’m impatient to discover more.” — Alastair Macaulay, November 3, 2015

Preview Article: BalletCollective to Premiere Works by Troy Schumacher at NYU Skirball, 11/4-5 (BroadwayWorld) — Dance News Desk, September 17, 2015

Past Review: Leaping From Within, Narratives of a Young Ensemble. BalletCollective Performs at the Skirball Center (The New York Times) “The worlds created by BalletCollective are mint-fresh. They feel both attuned to life outside the performing arts and to the interior lives of the performers.” — October 30, 2014

Article: A Dancer’s Creative Evolution: Troy Schumacher Prepares His First Work for City Ballet (The New York Times) “A City Ballet member since 2005, Mr. Schumacher has danced a variety of roles, from Puck in Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream to one-half of the frisky male twosome in Mr. Ratmansky’s “Concerto DSCH.” — Marina Harss, September 19, 2014

Pre-Show Lobby Talk November 4 at 6:30pm
Composing for Dance
Join us before the show for a lobby talk given by music director and resident composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin).

Join us after the performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with music director and resident composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin), Mark Dancigers (NOW Ensemble), and Director of BalletCollective, Troy Schumacher.

BEYOND THE STAGE with Spectrum Dance Theater “The Minstrel Show Revisited”

The Minstrel Show Revisited

The Minstrel Show Revisited, which runs at NYU Skirball Center Oct. 28-30interrogates and critiques the 19th Century black-faced entertainment genre whose legacy is still felt today and continues to play a significant role in cultural stereotyping.

The work addresses current racial issues while shining the light on racist aspects of American history that are difficult to discuss. By using the conventions of the 19th Century Minstrel Show, including the once common tradition of “black face,” Byrd and his remarkable dancers confront audiences with the past and present manifestations of racism and perpetuation of stereotypes embedded in American culture and tradition.

The black-faced mask of minstrel shows is a lingering image from America’s past that still inflicts wounds today through its psychic hold…In the future if we are to be free from its terrible grip we must confront it boldly and courageously by staring back into its face and laughing at the absurdity of its representation until it no longer has the power to hurt us. Only then will it be vanquished and we are free to be. —Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd’s work as a choreographer achieved international visibility with the creation of the Harlem Nutcracker and a Tony Award nomination for his 2006 choreography of Broadway’s The Color Purple. He has created more than 80 modern dance pieces for his own groups as well as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet.  He was a fellow at The Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University for three years. His unbounded appetite to explore the arts has fueled his artistic vision for Spectrum Dance Theater since 2002 and has evolved the company into one of regional and national significance.

Artist’s Website: Spectrum Dance Theater
Artist’s Blog: Donald Byrd
Program Guide: The Minstrel Show Program Guide
The program guide was written for, and originally published in, the program for 1991’s The Minstrel Show. It includes an essay, Wrestling with our Responses, by Scott deLahunta.

Review: From Vaudeville to the Streets (ArtsJournal blog: DanceBeat)
“Eleven dancers take the stage at NYU Skirball Center in Donald Byrd’s The Minstrel Show Revisited.They’re strutting, prancing, raising white-gloved hands. How come I don’t recognize any faces? I can hardly tell which are women and which are men. Byrd has already made a point about racial prejudice; it may change its forms over the years, but it doesn’t vanish.”—Deborah November 2, 2015

Review: Donald Byrd: The Minstrel Show Revisited (TimeOut New York)
“In 1991, choreographer Donald Byrd’sThe Minstrel Show was daring. Is it still? Daring yes; riveting—less so.” —Helen Shaw, October 30, 2015

Review: Donald Byrd and Spectrum Dance Theater – The Minstrel Show Revisited – New York (DanceTabs)
“With the onslaught of cases of unarmed black men being killed by the police, the comforting illusion that racism in America was on the wane has been shattered” —Marina Harss, November 1, 2015

Feature Article: Tap Routine: Donald Byrd Considers the Evolution of Minstrelsy (The New Yorker) “Minstrel shows seem even more deplorable in that they began as the creation of white people, performing in blackface and with big, woolly wigs. But such shows were also hugely popular with black people, who were soon producing their own versions, in which they, too, corked up and put on fuzzy wigs” —Joan Acocella, November 2, 2015

Review: Equal Opportunity Racism in The Minstrel Show Revisited (City Arts Magazine)
“Regardless of prior “exposure” to blackface—via movies, pictures, books, TV shows, or otherwise—watching a group of performers painted and costumed to emulate a horrific, archaic form of racism is unsettling, emotional and thought–provoking. The Minstrel Show Revisited (a restaged version of choreographer and Spectrum Dance Theater artistic director Donald Byrd’s Bessie Award-winning 1991 work The Minstrel Show) does just that, and more.” —Rachel Gallaher, February 24, 2014

Review: Spectrum Unpacks Racism ( SeattleDances)
“…despite the “riskiness” of this topic, Donald Byrd and Spectrum Dance Theater boldly unpacked the history and the current state of race relations in America with poignant poeticism in The Minstrel Show Revisited” —Imana Gunawan, February 26, 2014

Preview Article: How Trayvon Martin brought a dance work back to new life in Seattle (Crosscut)
“I think people who come are the ones who want to be challenged. They want to be shaped a bit.” —Donald Byrd in an interview by Florangela Davila, February  20, 2014

Preview Article: Choreographer Uses Blackface To Confront Racial Attitudes Past And Present (KUOW)
February 20, 2014

Preview Article: Minstrel Show Update Revisits Race Conversation (SeattleDances)
“Byrd is an artist who thrives on opening dialogue about difficult, uncomfortable topics. Race is a prime example.” —Anna Waller February 19, 2014

Preview Article: Spring Arts: The Button-Pusher, Donald Byrd (Seattle Weekly)
The Minstrel Show Revisited takes an unflinching view of a difficult part of our performance history, making us squirm and smile at the same time.” —Sandra Kurtz February 11, 2014

Review: A Message For Today In Blackface (New York Times)
“Donald Byrd choreographically examined this theatrical form in The Minstrel Show, the witty and provocative new work that Donald Byrd/ The Group presented on Wednesday night at the Bessie Schonberg Theater” —Jack Anderson November 9, 1991

Review: A ‘Hot Time’ at Intriguing Minstrel Show : Dance: Choreographer Donald Byrd and The Group remind a sometimes uneasy audience that the tradition of racism through entertainment is alive and well. (L.A Times) —Frankie Wright January 27, 1992

Article: Stomping on Eggshells: An Honest Discussion of Race, Identity, and Intent in the American Theater
Spurred by the controversies over the new adaptation of The Jungle Book that opened this summer in Chicago, this series of articles explores who is allowed to tell whose stories onstage. This series is curated by Rebecca Stevens, the Chicago Commons Producer for HowlRound.

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Pre- and Post-Show Talks on NYU Skirball YouTube

Pre-Show Lobby Talk October 28 at 6:30pm
From Representation to Reality: Blackface Minstrelsy in Past and Present: Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Matthew Morrison, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

This pre-show discussion will give a brief history of the first original form of popular entertainment in the U.S., Blackface Minstrelsy, and how this performance style  has continued to impact American popular entertainment, identity, and culture into the present day.

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Arielle Andrews, President of the Black Student Union at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd.

Pre-Show Lobby Talk October 29 at 6:30pm

From Minstrelsy to Miley Cyrus: A Round Trip: Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Daniel Charnas, Associate Arts Professor at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Deborah Jowitt, Master Teacher in Dance at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd.

Pre-Show Lobby Talk October 30 at 7:00pm

Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Awam Amkpa, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU.

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Kwami Coleman, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in Gallatin School at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd