Please note: this performance of BIG FIVE-OH! includes partial nudity.

Artist Q&A will follow the performance.

For their 50th anniversary celebration, Pilobolus returns to Northrop to question its own “givens,” turn its traditions sideways, and bring its past into the future. As fresh and vibrant as ever, Pilobolus—that feisty arts organism—puts the “Oh!” in BIG FIVE-OH! as it continues to thrill its way into audiences’ hearts and minds. The celebration includes the world premiere of a new work by alum Gaspard Louis, vintage classics, and—in the paradoxical Pilobolus tradition of breaking with tradition—dynamically reimagined works for a never-before-seen Pilobolus experience. 

“The old symbiosis of strength, skill and shape glows into poetry” —The New York Times

“An ever-changing kaleidoscope of intertwined configurations” —The Advertiser


Learn More - Explore These Themes

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested topics:

  • Dance
  • Theatre Arts
  • Education & Human Development
  • Kinesiology
  • UMN Autism Initiative

Start a conversation about the performance, or encourage reflection, using these questions as inspiration.

Pilobolus calls themself a “rebellious” dance company. Since 1971, Pilobolus has tested the limits of human physicality to explore the beauty and power of connected bodies. In Rules @ Play, a lively, interactive show created specifically for youth audiences, the dancers explore how rules provide opportunities to solve problems, overcome challenges–and even spark creativity. 

  • To be an innovative thinker, do you believe rules should be bent or broken?
  • Is art subjective if everyone follows the rules? Who makes up the rules of an artistic discipline? When should the rules be followed?

Pilobolus believes that, no matter their ability, everyone can dance—a philosophy that extends beyond the stage. As a company, they bring decades of experience telling stories with the human form to show diverse communities how to maximize group creativity, solve problems, and generate joy through the power of nonverbal communication. This season, Northrop has partnered with the Autism Society of Minnesota,  offering a Sensory Friendly Lounge at this and other select performances to provide all guests with a welcoming space before and during the performance.

  • How can nonverbal art forms be adapted to provide greater accessibility to various audiences? What accessibility concerns should dance companies consider?
  • When creating art, how do you consider including people of different abilities?
  • How can Universities continue to support people of all abilities and provide a welcoming and safe space for them?

For their 50th anniversary, Pilobolus is celebrating with BIG FIVE-OH!, an evening-length performance featuring vintage classics and trend-setting shadow pieces. In an interview with Times Union, co-director Renée Jaworski called out their collaborative spirit, “I don’t think we would have survived so long if we didn’t have the power of the group.” 

  • What makes a collection of people powerful?
  • What elements do you think contribute to the long-term survival of a dance company?


Minnesota State Arts Board logo
National Endowment for the Arts
PNC Bank logo

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit