Dance steps into the shadows in the latest touring production to hit Perth.

Shadowland, from American company Pilobolus, combines dance with circus and shadow theatre in its adventures of a teenage girl who wakes from a dream to find her shadow has taken on a life of its own, Peter Pan-style.

The nine dancers twist and contort their bodies into human sculptures to make vivid silhouette characters come alive, including giants, a dog, elephant and centaur.

They also step out from behind the shadow screens to reveal their grace and strength in the flesh.

New Yorker Lauren Yolango, who plays the girl, said acting behind the screens was more pronounced because of the need to amplify shapes and meaning. "Some things have to be overexaggerated and some things have to be held back," Yolango said.

The show required a demanding team effort to make the images look good and to give them a "personality", she said.

"Just making the shapes themselves, we call it bad yoga because it is like you get in the most awkward positions and then hold them because that's what looks good," Yolango said.

The company struck it big after its performance at the 2007 Academy Awards. It takes its name Pilobolus from a fungus whose spores are said to move with speed, accuracy and strength.

"One of our directors' dads was studying this fungus and he got inspired by it," Yolango said.

"The name just kind of stuck."

Shadowland is at the Regal Theatre until July 6.

The West Australian

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