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Episode 134 | Breaking Barriers w/ Pilobolus: Matt Kent and Rob Pranzatelli

Matt Kent (Artistic Director of Pilobolus) and Robert Pranzatelli (Author) join Martheya to talk about Rob’s book, Pilobolus: A Story of Dance and Life. The book encompasses the whole fifty-year evolution of the company, but the narrative is framed by their personal friendship. They discuss Matt & Rob’s friendship, how dance influences social media, and worldmaking in the creative process. (46:37) 

Listen to our previous episodes with Pilobolus:


[0:12] Martheya says welcome back 


[1:05] Topic: Matt & Rob’s Friendship

  • [1:03] Martheya asks: “ I know in the book you met at a workshop over the summer, but to give our audience a bit of context, can you briefly share your relationship to each other and Pilobolus?” 

  • [10:38] Martheya asks: “I'm wondering if you can both talk about how Pilobolus breaks barriers and creates work that's enjoyed by people everywhere, both in my performance, but also on the screen?”  

[17:01] Topic: Considering the Audience 

  • [17:01] Martheya asks: “What are the different elements (Piloblus explores), to find that balance? So you're not just making work for dancers?”

  • [19:52] Martheya asks: “We saw it especially during the pandemic, like on TikTok, everybody's making dances, so…why is there such a challenge?”

[23:25] Topic: World-making 

  • [23:25] Martheya asks: “I'm wondering if you could pinpoint the creative strategies  that made this world creation successful and resonate with audiences worldwide?”

[35:19] Martheya asks:  

1- If you had to recommend a resource to our audience what would it be?

  • Matt: Adam Grant 

  • Rob: Library

[36:42] Martheya asks:  

2- What was the first dance you saw?

  • Matt: Touring Broadway Shows

  • Rob: Joffrey Ballet

[38:51] Martheya asks:  

3- Do you think social media has a positive influence on the dance world (yes or no)? 

  • Matt: Yes and No

  • Rob: Yes

[40:46] Martheya asks:  

4- What is your favorite social media platform?

  • Matt: YouTube/Instagram 

  • Rob: YouTube

Recommended Resources:

Connect with Pilobolus & Rob

Facebook: @PilobolusDance

Instagram: @Pilobolus

Twitter/X: @Pilobolus

Youtube: @Pilobolus

Previous Episodes: 

Matt joined Pilobolus in 1996 without any formal dance training. His unconventional entrance into dance and theater parallels the Founders’. In Pilobolus, he found an outlet for his artistic and creative vision and began a diverse and prolific career. He has performed on prestigious stages around the world and created choreography for colleges, professional dance companies, as well as grand productions involving shadow, horses, acrobats, large scale Michael Curry puppets, actors, stunt men, hip hop dancers, athletes, zombies, and more. His work on Shakespeare’s The Tempest co-directed by Aaron Posner and Teller won the Helen Hayes Award for best choreography. He developed the movement vocabulary for The Walking Dead. His work has appeared on the Academy Awards, Conan O’Brien, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us, Wetten Dass, and multiple television commercials. As Artistic Director of Pilobolus, he brings an unconventional approach to innovative theatrical experiences. A powerhouse of creativity, he leads the 50 plus year old Company, keeping the vintage historic works authentic and relative, while breaking new ground to create  transformative experiences to engage, inspire, and leave audiences in awe.

Robert Pranzatelli is the author of a number of essays published by the Paris Review and other literary journals. His writings include portraits of visual creators (among them Belle Epoque artist Lucien Métivet, French comics genius Jean “Moebius” Giraud, and contemporary Belgian graphic novelist Max de Radiguès), essays on literary figures (Vladimir Nabokov, Truman Capote), and a number of stories and poems. He is a longtime staff member of Yale University Press.

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