Founded at Dartmouth College in 1971, Pilobolus is mainly a dance company that stages performances in front of a screen, but they also specialize in shadow work. Jonathan and his creative team invite Oprah's cameras backstage for an exclusive look at how they make their magic.
Their special assignment is to recreate an image of Oprah's cocker spaniel, Sophie, on stage. First, they study video of Sophie's every move. Then, they look at pictures and sketch the outline of her body. "It's kind of almost controlled chaos," Jonathan says. "Everybody has ideas about how to do things."
Using physics, precise timing and incredible strength, the dancers attempt to bend and shape their bodies into Sophie's image. A powerful light casts their shadows against a large white screen…and there's no room for modesty. "Sometimes you just don't want any clothes interfering at all, so you take them off," Jonathan says. "Nobody knows what's happening back there. We could all be naked!"
Watch Sophie come to life on stage.
"That is amazing!" Oprah says. "Thank you so much. Sophie's been sick and so that's really great—what a great tribute to her."