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Bringing the Pilobolus philosophy to campus.

By Allison Fisher Speer '91

Jenny Mendez '01 hurled a class of freshmen dance students out of their technical comfort zones in February during a Master Class on campus. This 5-foot dynamo of strength and stamina, who performed with the Pilobolus dance troupe the previous night at Bass Hall, taught the students how to take their body movements to the extreme. By instructing students to freeze in close proximity and share each other’s space, she demonstrated how to become observant performers.

"I like to emphasize the importance of a solid base in ballet and modern techniques, but remind them not to forget that there are other types of dance, and to explore these options,” she said. “In today’s professional dance world things have changed so much, and many companies want that versatility in a dancer."

In her third year with the seven-member company, Mendez travels the world performing and teaching classes at the Pilobolus Institute in Washington, Conn. The performances involve a collaborative choreographic process and a unique weight-sharing approach to partnering.

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