Charlotte native Alexander W. Lieberman performs with the renowned Pilobolus dance troupe. Lieberman is touring with Pilobolus in Europe, where he is part of an ensemble cast performing “Shadowland.” The 27-year-old is graduate of Charlotte’s Northwest School of the Arts and UNC Greensboro, where he received a degree in theater with a minor in dance. He was in Charlotte recently on break visiting family.
Q. Describe “Shadowland.” Is it dance or performance art?
I don’t make such distinctions. What we do is theater, dance and music all mashed together. “Shadowland” is the story of a girl who finds herself trapped in a world of shadows. She is confronted by strange creatures and odd experiences. She needs to find herself to get out. It’s about 50 percent behind the screen and 50 percent directly in front of the audience.
Q. You performed in Moscow at a performance attended by Vladimir Putin; what was that experience like?
It went by so quickly, it was almost like a dream. The security was incredibly tight. We didn’t take any bows; it wasn’t a traditional performance, everything was behind the screen. At the same time it was a special and unique experience, though I didn’t get the chance to meet him.
Q. Pilobolus is known for their incredible physicality. How much do you train?
Six hours per day. One hour to warm up, four or five hours rehearsing and developing our rotational cast. We all need to be backed up in case of injury or for breaks.
Q. How are European audiences different than Americans?
It’s insane! They are incredibly enthusiastic and engaged. When the performance is over, no one rushes out, they applaud in unison, one beat all together, and we take up to four curtain calls. It is really gratifying.
Q. I’ve read you take your long-board (an extra long skateboard) everywhere. Why?
I am really into long-boarding. When I lived in New York City it was my main mode of transport. I commuted from Brooklyn to Manhattan on it. It is a great workout and super way to get around.