Ball Passing

What is Ball Passing?

Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann

Ball Passing is part dance, part game and part moving puzzle. It is community art that demonstrates the way in which people can cooperate to manifest a complex and interdependent structure. The process of learning and performing Ball Passing transforms a group of diverse individuals into an energized and coalescent team with a common purpose and a strong sense of belonging. Ball Passing engenders the kind of experience among its participants that has become less and less available in our world: a non-competitive experience of play, fun and cooperation achieved through the pursuit of a larger common goal. Ball Passing can be learned by people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, and by those with diverse or limited performance experience. It can be modified to meet the specific needs and skill sets of virtually any group of participants. The visual complexity, the rhythmic shifting of patterns, the surprise of dropped balls and the delight of recovery all serve to bring the audience into the game. Ball Passing is a spectacle that has the ability to create - for performers and audience alike - a greater sense of connection and belonging within the larger community.


Photo: Simon Wachter

Over its more than 40 year history Ball Passing has emerged as a powerful tool for learning and change for community centers, corporations, hospitals, management teams, performing arts organizations, and those with special physical and emotional needs. Originally created as a performance work in 1978 for three performers Ball Passing was an immediate critical and popular success. It is widely considered a masterpiece of post-modern dance and has been performed by teams of 9, 18, 25, 36, 48, 60 and 72 performers – many of whom had no previous performing experience. Ball Passing has been performed by over 4000 individuals in ballet and modern dance companies, student and community groups, corporations and by patients at children’s hospitals.

72 Person Ball Passing in Toronto

Participants have included:

The Joffrey Ballet

The Lar Lubovich Dance Company

Mercedes Benz Bank A.G.

Bat Sheva Dance Company (Israel)

The Olga Children’s Hospital in (Stuttgart, Germany)

Gauthier Danse (Stuttgart, Germany)

American Dance Festival

Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center

Deutche Bank

Cloud Gate Dance Theater

Peregrine Communications

Aporeto Corporation

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

The World Squash Championships at the World Trade Center

The Fall for Dance North Festival in Toronto, Ontario


Photo: Simon Wachter

Franz Reiner, Chairman of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz Bank AG

“Learning to work tightly together as an integrated team is essential for our work and Ball Passing was ideal for us.”

Annette Dow – Office Manager, Aporeto

“The team-work, precision and performance it demands is what every tech start up dreams of. Ball Passing turned us into a well-oiled machine!”

Dr. Tina Moller – Pediatrician, Stuttgart Olga Children’s Hospital Stuttgart

“You see the self-esteem of the kids grow as they realize they are leaders…..All of us.. Nurses, Doctors, Parents and Patients…are having a special experience as a complete team”

Ilter Ibrahimof -  Artistic Director & Co-founder, Fall for Dance North, Toronto Canada

“Commissioning the largest Ball Passing project (so far!) with 72 people from the city of Toronto was one of the most successful projects FFDN has ever embarked on and a turning point in our young festival's relationship with it's local community. A perfect reflection of the diversity of our city and country, the process brought us together in ways that left a lasting impression on the minds and hearts of those who were directly and indirectly involved.”

The Village Voice

"Charles Moulton’s “Ball Passing” fuses the energy and communal feeling of team sports with the formal elegance of dance, music, and even the visual arts, resulting in performances that connect with audiences and transport and delight viewers of all ages. It’s the most fun you can have in a theater seat!"

A Ball Passing event
Photo: Stephanie Berger