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An Evening with Crystal Pite (Nederlands Dans Theater)

Renowned for her flowing, organic and poetic style, Crystal Pite has succeeded in bringing her surprising and innovative dance approach to a wide audience. Fascinated by familiar storylines of love, conflict and loss, and the body’s role in providing the illustrative shape of those stories, in Pite’s vision, life is an epic tale which she strives to reflect in her ballets through the viewer’s own tale.

Both of the works by Crystal Pite center around the theme of the Frontier – the border between what we know and what we do not know. The first half of the performance looks inward, towards the frontiers of what we know about the human mind. The second ballet looks outward to the frontier of the universe and explores the dark and invisible forces that shape and evolve our galaxy and ultimately, us. In Parade the central image is of a procession of clowns and a marching band. The actual “parade” is a reflection of the imagination, absurdity, and ritual, and the play between the disorganized clowns and the hyper-ordered, rank-and-file marching band exemplifies the tension between instinct and intellect, rational and irrational, unconscious and conscious.

Experimenting with light and shadows, Set Designer Jay Gower Taylor has established two co-existing environments – an interior and an exterior space separated by walls or scrims. The interior space contains a visible, recognizable and known world, with the relationships and story-lines that are inherent. The exterior space portrays a limitless frontier, inhabited by shadows. Pite ‘s task is to try to connect these two worlds to emphasize a sense of something existing beyond what is visible or tangible.

In Frontier, “Dark matter” and “dark energy” are the terra incognita of our day. Making up roughly 96 percent of the observable universe, dark matter can be perceived and proven, but no one knows yet what it actually is and no one has seen it. What one can see is the effect it has on galaxy speeds, structures and evolution. The ballet explores the parallel between what we do not know about the universe, and what we do not know about the mind.

CAST: The Dancers of NDT1

RUN TIME: 125 min