Crystal Pite/Kidd Pivot

March 24, 2006

Crystal Pite/Kidd Pivot
Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver, BC

March 24–April 1, 2006

Reviewed by Kaija Pepper


It’s a dark work, but not depressing. Trust Crystal Pite, one of Canada’s most exciting choreographers, to pull off the distinction. In Lost Action, she presents a loosely constructed scenario of men fighting—a timely subject worldwide—but while the heartbreak is there, so are the moments of intense connection possible between men, and between men and women.

In this work Pite’s trademark fractured movement is exaggerated to make a dance of broken rhythms and twisted limbs. At times the odd angles of legs and arms seem physically impossible and suggest bodies in crisis. Pite, an ex-Ballet British Columbia and Ballett Frankfurt dancer, is one of the seven performers, and her own solo near the top is typical: swift, precise movement erupts all over her body in a kind of hip hop flow, but with the long, extended limbs of ballet.

The male quartet—Éric Beauchesne, Malcolm Low, Yannick Matthon, and Victor Quijada—is key to the work. Bodies closely entangled, their dance becomes a fight, transforming into succor, and then again a fight. This sad cycle repeats throughout.

The women make a strong supporting cast. Tiny Anne Plamondon spins sleekly into Matthon’s arms or is lifted by all four men, who support her pliant body as it stretches into a series of unlikely shapes. Francine Liboiron’s extreme leg extensions are almost a distraction, a marvel of their own apart from the work at hand, but they certainly fulfill Pite’s aesthetic of dislocation.

Unusually for the inventive Pite, there is no set and few props, and costumes are basic pants and T-shirts. Pite spent her budget, which was enhanced through a $60,000 Alcan Performing Arts Award, on bringing a handpicked team of Canadian and American dancers to Vancouver, her home base.

The sounds of machine-gun fire and high wind in Owen Belton’s score suggest a war zone, but Lost Action does not present a specific battle situation. Rather, Pite thoughtfully explores kinetic expressions of aggression and loss. The result is intelligent, deeply moving dance of great choreographic richness. See or