CRYSTAL PITE/KIDD PIVOT
Crystal Pite, whose company, Kidd Pivot, operates from Vancouver and Berlin, is already an international name in dance, but her troupe just made its New York debut February 23-24 – two nights only, alas – at BAC. Pite’s evening, titled The You Show, consists of four duets – perhaps one too many – the last of which includes her full nine dancer company.
Fine dance makers are not so rare, but the true choreographic gene is given to few, and Pite seems so blessed. With her dancers, she creates intense movement that paints highly kinetic pictures, which are at once specific and abstract. The details of the movement are less important than the emotions it taps. The work is rife with “wow” moments, when the movement embodies the emotion with such consonance you can’t imagine another choice.
“A Picture of You Falling” (2008) begins with a disembodied voice speaking, as a rolling spotlight traverses the stage. In the ensuing solo for the woman (Anne Plamondon), she sometimes illustrates the words with her gestures but mostly physical impulses jolt her body through space, lunging, lurching, spinning, falling. Her partner (Peter Chu) lurks in the shadows like a ghost. Robert Sondergaard’s active lighting design chases the dancers with spotlights or goes black or flashes bolts of lightning, adding to the dramatic tension.
In Chu’s solo, it is hard to tell whether his convulsive, percussive, twitching motion is causing or caused by Owen Belton’s sound score of clicking locks, meshing gears, footsteps, and slams. When the partners get together, they can’t seem to find a comfortable connection with each other – falling in or out of love, or into oblivion.
“The Other You” demonstrates most clearly Pite’s brilliance at translating intellectual concept into vivid movement. Eric Beauchesne represents an individual being manipulated by conscious and unconscious motivations. After manipulating his own body like a puppeteer with a remote control, he confronts his own image (Jiri Pokorny) in an imaginary mirror. The men, who look remarkably alike in black coats and white shirts by costumer Linda Chow, wrestle to prevail, one over the other. Finally, Beauchesne wins the battle, banishes his adversary with a push toward Pokorny’s foot that energizes the air between them and accomplishes its goal without any physical contact.
In “Das Glashaus,” Yannick Matthon and Cindy Salgado are survivors of some roiling disaster – an earthquake, hurricane, sunami. Bursts of strobe light and sounds of shattering glass frame their desperate attempts at escape from whatever the horror is surrounding them. Sometimes it’s hard to see them in the shadowy darkness, but their angst is clearly overwhelming.
l-r: Spivey, Garcia in A Picture of You Flying
And the final work, “A Picture of You Flying,” contains some transcendent, real-life version of Computer Generated Imagery, where three women (Ariel Freedman, Plamondon, and Salgado) become the exoskeleton of Jermaine Maurice Spivey – who plays a wannabe superhero – and four men (Beauchesne, Chu, Matthon, and Pokorny) do the same for Sandra Marin Garcia, his distaff antagonist. Funny as Spivey’s portrayal is, his opening monolog needs trimming. And you just can’t top the battle of “transformers” for inventiveness and wit, so putting the lovers through their unrequited romance after the battle is redundant, not to mention bizarrely anti-climactic. Still, as Cedar Lake Company has already discovered, Pite is a choreographer well worth watching.
Photo by Julieta Cervantes
© Gus Solomons jr, 2012