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This Shadowy Performance By Pilobolus Has Profoundly Piqued Our Interest

When a good portion of your job consists of scouring the internet, movies, and TV for interesting and engaging things, we occasionally find ourselves – let’s say – quite used to a lot of what’s out there. We know how to handle pop culture news, can write ourselves in circles when it comes to a science breakthrough, and sure as hell can wax poetic about any number of movies and TV shows. Though, every so often, something comes along like this beautiful performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, that leaves us just plain gobsmacked.

Some may already be aware of the arts organization Pilobolus and their Shadowland performances over the years, but they dropped in on Colbert to do a holiday-oriented piece that’s re-ignited our fascination with their unique form of art. At it’s core, Shadowland is shadow puppets but while we’re still trying to master creating a dog or a bird on our bedroom walls, Pilobolus is creating intricate worlds with every part of their dancer’s bodies. Performers tumble in and out of frame at different distances from the light source and strike poses which cast their combined shadows on a screen resulting in visuals that (in some cases) still have us scratching our heads as to how they must have been configured.

For the Colbert performance, we’re treated to a few iconic NYC landmarks as Santa Claus chooses to land his sleigh in a New York airport (WHY, Saint Nick!? Do you not know how nuts NYC airports are at the holidays?!) and goes about his deliveries while touring The Big Apple. He stops by the Statue Of Liberty, drops in on SantaCon, says hello to a mammoth at the American Museum of Natural History (we’re guessing since NYC only has a the Mammuthus skeleton and, well, it’s also certainly… you know, dead) and even has time to give a present to Pizza Rat!

Frankly, we’ve fallen in love all over again with these performances and the good news is Pilobolus’ Shadowland is on tour. Check out their site for upcoming dates and if you happen to go, peek behind that screen for us and let us know how weirdly they’re posed back there. Or, at the very least, help us wrap our heads around them by explaining your best guess of the poses in the comments below!

Image: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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