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Arts & Culture

Pilobolus Gets Back To Nature For This Year’s Five Senses Festival

The Connecticut dance ensemble Pilobolus’ annual Five Senses Festival is a go for this year, but with a new social distancing twist. The world-renowned company will take this year’s festival into the lush hills of northwest Connecticut for what’s being called the “Five Senses Safari.”

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Audience members will drive their cars through the grounds of Spring Hill Vineyards in New Preston. Along the route they will encounter live performances by members of Pilobolus, as well as aerialists, vocalists and other musicians.

Renée Jaworski, co-artistic director of Pilobolus, said the safari format not only ensures a proper social distanced performance, but it also offers the audience an escape from the stress of everyday life.

“To make change in a world that needs a lot of change right now, you need to be able to dream and wish, and envision something that doesn’t exist,” explained Jaworski. “So, during this hard time finding the whimsy, and finding the need and the desire and the time to create worlds that don’t exist yet. So that we can all work towards those worlds together.”

The safari takes Pilobolus dancers outdoors, where the natural surroundings become part of the choreography.

Pilobolus dancer Quincy Ellis says he finds working in and with nature both unpredictable and thrilling.

“Because you never know what it’s going to sound like, you don’t know where the winds are going to blow, or a tree branch could fall,” said Ellis. “There are so many things that become unknown in that space, that that becomes really exciting. We can always set something and then have something change in the moment, which will create a moment that the audience will get, and maybe those cars driving by are the only ones that are going to get that moment, and that’s something I find really great about working in nature.”

Credit Emily Kent / Pilobolus

Along with the dance safari, the three-day Five Senses Festival features morning wellness programs, as well as evening activities by bonfire.

The festival gets underway Friday, July 31.

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