The Joyce Theater (Executive Director, Linda Shelton) will dedicate the upcoming Pilobolus season to its founder and co-Artistic Director Jonathan Wolken, who died Sunday, June 13 in NYC from complications from a stem cell transplant. The season commences on July 12, what would have been Wolken's 61st birthday, and runs through August 7. A memorial service for Jonathan Wolken, establishing the Jonathan Wolken Fund for education, will take place at The Joyce Theater on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 2pm.
The Pilobolus season at The Joyce Theater will include three New York City premieres, including Hitched, the final work created under Wolken's direction: Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving', a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and famed New Yorker cartoonist Art Spiegelman; Contradance, a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning family rocker Dan Zanes.
Speaking of the late Mr. Wolken, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Linda Shelton said, "Throughout the nearly twenty years that I knew and worked with Jonathan, I always admired his devotion to the company that he co-founded and cherished. All of us at The Joyce are profoundly sad about his death. "
Jonathan thought of himself as much a teacher as he did a maker of dancers. He mentored countless students of diverse backgrounds for almost 40 years-from dancers to lawyers, from business people to school teacher-and inspired courage, knowledge, passion, curiosity, resilience and delight in the creative process. In his honor, Pilobolus has established The Jonathan Wolken Education Fund. This fund will sustain Pilobolus' collaborative education programs for the next 40 years. Donations can be made through the Pilobolus website www.pilobolus.org or checks made out to Pilobolus can be mailed to PO Box 388, Washington Depot, CT 06794. Specify The Wolken Fund.
Jonathan Wolken co-founded Pilobolus in 1971. He was proud to have become acquainted with pilobolus, the fungus, while researching its photoreceptor mechanism in his father's biophysics lab. Mr. Wolken graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Philosophy. In addition to his work with Pilobolus, he choreographed for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera's production of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. He created Oneiric, which was featured in a jointly produced Pilobolus/Danish Television show, for members of the Royal Danish Ballet. Mr. Wolken was also Artist-in-Residence for the USIS-sponsored Arts America Program in Kuopio, Finland, and for many summers, he taught Pilobolus' Summer Workshops in Maine. To find symmetry and mystery in his work, in 1991 Jonathan built a secret second life as Pilobolus' Development Director, focusing on fundraising for the company. He is survived by his wife, JoAnne, and their four daughters in Washington CT.