GREAT BARRINGTON - For Pilobolus, the choreographic routine is markedly different from most dance companies.
Most commonly in other troupes, a choreographer - either in residence or visiting - arrives at the first rehearsal with a piece, its musical or sound score already established and, through subsequent sessions, imparts the work to the assigned dancers. It is a regimen that can proceed for days, weeks or months until the dance finally reaches the stage before an audience.
At Pilobolus, the development of a new dance is entirely a collaborative affair, according to Rene Jaworski, whose broad job description and title includes creative team and artistic associate of the company, which is based in nearby Washington Depot, Conn., with offices also in New York.
Jaworski cited an example of this collaborative process: "Licks," new this year, is one of the works that Pilobolus will bring to the stage of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Saturday evening in a performance that begins at 8.
"In other companies, you bring in Trish Sie (the choreographer), and she does the work. In our company, you bring her in, and she works with me, and we do the choreography together," she explained. "At the same time we're collaborating with the dancers."
Jaworski adds that while she is working in the studio with Sie and the dancers, two of the company's artistic directors, Robby Barnett and Matt Kent, also weigh in on the collaboration. "All of our founding artistic directors were dancers," she noted.
"Another interesting thing," Jaworski added. " When we invite musicians to come to us, we're not asking them for a specific score. We ask them to come with us. When we invited Nortec in, we started the conversation with them, kind of opened the floor to them, asking them to give input to the entire piece as a whole."
Nortec is Nortec Collective, a partnership of two musicians from Tijuana known as Pepe and Ramon, who created a sound track for "Licks," fusing modern rhythms and traditional Northern Mexican border music.
"They influenced the choreography, we influenced the music, (although) they're not dancers, and I'm not a musician," noted Jaworski. "But we and the dancers kind of played with their ideas - it's really our collaborative process."
Jaworski indicated that the creation of " Licks," became part of her and Sie's lives during the gestation period.
"There's lots of talking, lots of communication, physically and verbally, inside and outside the studio - we get obsessed with the idea we're working with.
"I spent 16 to 18 hours a day working with Trish making 'Licks.' I would wake up and send an email, then we would get coffee together before rehearsals. Later, we would get dinner.
One of the early ideas for "Licks" involved ropes.
"The ropes became another partner on stage," said Jaworski. " We presented an abstract idea, and then everybody started playing with it."
According to Jaworski, " Licks" has emerged as " a high-octane romp, full of raw energy and berserk horseplay for 12 ropes and six dancers, at various times wild, rowdy, dangerous, sexy and absurd."
Four other works on Saturday's agenda also are new to audiences here:
" Skyscrapers" ( 2012), another collaboration with Sie, is set against the gritty, saturated colors of East Los Angeles streets, an iteration for a live stage piece, according to Jaworski, of Sie's Grammynominated video for OK Go, the alternative Los Angeles rock band. "The movement is a Pilobolus twist on Argentinean tango," said Jaworski.
" Automaton" (2012), a collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, the Flemish choreographer, is described as a cyborg of a dance that questions the difference between human and machine, somewhere between " Tron" and "Blade Runner."
"Shizen" (1978), meaning nature in Japanese, is a duet originally performed by company founders, Moses Pendleton and Alison Chase, Jaworski said, exploring coupling as a biomorphic reflection in the natural world. Its music, of the shakuhachi, an end-blown Japanese flute, was composed by the Americanborn, Australian-based shakuhachi Grand Master, Riley Lee.
"Day Two" (1978), one of the company's classic works, enacts the second day of the world's creation, capturing evolution and the wonder of existence, while employing a soundtrack from Brian Eno and Talking Heads, the new wave and avant-garde band of the 1970s and '80s.
Pilobolus, which made its debut in 1971, derived its name from that of a phototropic fungus that the father of one of its founders, the late Jonathan Wolken, was studying in a lab. The fungus grows on cow dung and propels itself with extraordinary strength, speed and accuracy.
Since that time, Pilobolus has propelled itself in many directions apart from the theatrical performances of its dances: "Magnifico," a circus with acrobats, clowns, dancers and other specialty acts sent to four German cities in 2010; educational programming, which includes a summer camp and classes and workshops for various age levels of students, and television commercials for oil, automobile and soap companies produced by Pilobolus Creative Services, which also provided some memorable silhouette sequences of dance during the 2007 Academy Awards program.
"They're naked!" exclaimed Ellen DeGeneres, the host, after being included in one. Whether this was another DeGeneres joke was left to the imagination at the time.
"Of course," responded Jaworski when asked about the particular sequence.
"We believe less is more."