Pilobolus, a “mind-blowing troupe of wildly creative and physically daring dancers”, returns to Providence for the 2018 edition of PVDFest. The group has performed at the Oscars, the VMAs, and the Olympics, and now they’re headed to Providence to lead dozens of participants in The Umbrella Project, an illuminated, interactive community art experience that will light up downtown Providence on Saturday, June 9.

Curated by PVDFest Founding Partner FirstWorks, The Umbrella Project is a colorful spectacle in which participants illuminate the night with LED umbrellas that were developed in collaboration with MIT. A large overhead screen projects an aerial view of the umbrellas as they change color, with participants moving throughout the outdoor space. This project is open to festival attendees, regardless of mobility level. Non-participants are also welcome to attend and behold the power of their community in motion!

“The Umbrella Project promises to be one of those memory-making moments for which PVDFest is now famed,” says FirstWorks Artistic Director Kathleen Pletcher. “People still talk about the Earth Harp that turned the Superman building into a musical instrument. Being part of a group that collaborates to create magic is the kind of experience that will live on in our collective imaginations. The sheer innovation and marriage of dance and cutting edge technology make the Umbrella Project a perfect capstone for this year’s Ideas Conference theme: Cyborg Cities.

Beginning just after sundown at 101 Washington Street, three consecutive evening performances (8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm) will allow festival attendees multiple opportunities to experience and participate in the brilliantly illuminated magic. There is no need for participants to sign up in advance. They can simply show up 20 minutes before each performance.

The Umbrella Project has appeared at festivals throughout the world including Baltimore (2016), Singapore (2016), and Brooklyn Bridge Park (2017).

Pilobolus has a long relationship with FirstWorks. They headlined the premiere FirstWorks performance at The Vets in 2004, and returned again in 2010. “Pilobolus always brings new discovery to FirstWorks,” Pletcher says, “and this performance in particular fits well with the festival and the theme of smart cities.” The movement company will return to Providence to kick off FirstWorks’ 15th season on October 26, at the Artistic Icons Series, with Maximus: Beyond the Limits of Dance.