(BECKET, Mass.) – Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM (Kidd Pivot), the acclaimed contemporary dance company led by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite, performs her virtuosic and enigmatic work Dark Matters, a striking mystery thriller told through dance, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival July 6-10. Pite joins choreographers Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Annie-B Parson, Paul Lazar, and Alonzo King as the recipient of the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, which is presented each year to a visionary artist along with a cash prize of $25,000.
In Dark Matters, a lonely artist creates a puppet with fateful results. Pite’s choreography lures the audience into a world of fantasy, humor, and dark twists and turns intricately entwined with Owen Belton’s original score. Dark Matters explores the idea of undetectable forces at work in cosmology, the mind and body, and in the creative act itself.
The two hour work is broken up into two acts. In Act One, the artist interacts with a puppet controlled by performers in black suits. Focusing on the narrative of the puppet and the creator, the first act ends with a dramatic, dynamic finish. In contrast to the plot-focused Act One, Act Two is pure dance. Pite’s choreography mixes break dance isolations with graceful contemporary dance, spoken word, and excerpts from Voltaire’s Poem on the Lisbon Disaster (1756), which was written in response to the tragic deaths of an estimated 10,000 individuals after the historic 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
“Crystal is one of the most talented, intelligent, and original dancemakers to come along in recent years,” comments Ella Baff, executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow. “A former dancer with William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet and a riveting performer with her own troupe, she has also choreographed for major international companies, many of which have performed at the Pillow. She is respected and admired by the dance field throughout the world, and each of her creations is something unexpected and deeply imaginative. Dark Matters is one of the most fascinating dance works I’ve seen in a long time.”
Established in Vancouver in 2001 by Crystal Pite, Kidd Pivot recently accepted a two-year residency at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt in spring 2010. In addition to her own company, Pite has traveled the world to create works for Nederlands Dance Theatre, Ballett Frankfurt, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal (where she was Resident Choreographer 2001 – 2004), Ballet British Columbia, the Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, as well as Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Kidd Pivot previously performed Pite’s Lost Action in the Doris Duke Theatre at the Pillow in 2009.
Crystal Pite was involved in the creation of Forsythe’s CD-ROM Improvisation Technologies (available in the Pillow Archives). She choreographed and performed in several films; Subways, directed by Daniel Conrad for CBC; the feature film One Night Stand, directed by Mike Figgis; and The Score, created by Electric Company. Pite previously performed at the Pillow with Ballet British Columbia in 1993 and 1995.
On July 9 at 4, Pite will participate in a free PillowTalk discussion entitled “Crystal Pite Goes Global.” As part of the Pillow’s Community Dance Day, company members will lead a free Master Class on Sunday, July 10 for intermediate and advanced dances ages 16 and older. Pre-registration is required; for more information, call 413.243.9919.
On July 10, 9:30am-12:30pm, Jacob’s Pillow hosts Community Dance Day, an annual community event aimed at encouraging participation in dance among teens, adults, and families. The event features free dance workshops in Tango, African, Arab-American fusion, and Hoopla, the popular activity inspired by the craft and creativity of the Hula Hoop.
Other activities include free performances by the New England Tap Ensemble and Alpha Omega, music, and food and drink.