Jonathan Wolken, cofounder of the hugely innovative and influential Pilobolus Dance Theater died Sunday in New York of a bone marrow disease. He was the brother of Chicagoan Johanna Zorn, director and founder of the Third Coast International Audio Festival.
The American Dance Festival's Charles Reinhardt told 60 Minutes the innovative Pilobolus "created a new artistic direction" based on "what they knew: athletics, science, and bodies."
Wolken says the company was named for a small but mighty fungus. In this interview from December (with lots of dance clips) he discusses the creative benefits for the company of being located in the wilds of western Connecticut rather than New York.
Among other projects, Pilobolus worked with Maurice Sendak on a piece about children and the Holocaust, a collaboration memorialized in a film called Last Dance, and the company is currently working with Art Spiegelman on a piece that debuts this month.
The Hartford Courant's obit says Wolken's last piece will be performed in Hartford this Saturday.