Light of Passage Review – Crystal Pite’s Magnificent Dance of Life

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<p><figcaption class=Photography: Tristram Kenton / The Observer

Crystal Pite is an amazing choreographer. Her uniqueness is not her talent for creating dances for large groups of people that unfold with a silky energy, filling huge stages with ripples of motion. Nor is it her ability to carve dances that seem weightless and charged with depth at the same time.

It is his deep and unshakable belief that dance can communicate emotions in a way that no other art can, as if the vibrations of the footsteps on stage trigger an empathy in the hearts of the spectators.

Passage light is a case in point. In 2017, the Canadian created Flight model for the Royal Ballet at the first movement of Henryk Górecki Symphony of sorrowful songs; now it’s back to add Pact And Ride to the last two movements, responding perfectly to the music (directed by Zoi Tsokanou and sung, beautifully, by Francesca Chiejina). The three sections are separate but linked by the idea of ​​passage.

Flight model in itself it concerns refugees, people who travel without ever knowing their destination well. That sense of ever-changing but always oppressive limbo is evoked both by Jay Gower Taylor’s set, with its dark panels that alter the shape of space, but also by Pite’s choreography that creates an image of the masses huddled in a tense flow. , who raise their heads, raise their necks, walk forward.

At some point, each child is lifted onto the stage in an arabesque, flying into life

The sheer sadness is underlined by gestures of compassion – arms that gently wrap and hug, hands that flicker across the face – and by moments when individuals emerge from the group, especially Marcelino Sambé and Kristen McNally as a grieving couple, the their agony imprinted in elongated movements of pain.

The theme of children is taken up again Pact, which opens with a child running in place, incredibly fragile but fiercely hopeful. Behind him, Tom Visser’s large patches of light rise like clouds in a night sky. Around him and five other children (Junior Associates of the Royal Ballet School), 18 adult dancers, dressed in black as puppeteers, frame a world.

The 10-minute section is inspired by the promises of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and evokes those vows of protection by allowing anonymous adults to be used as stepping stones and support for children’s movements. At some point, each child is lifted onto the stage in an arabesque, flying through life; to another he drags adults behind him, like a heavy chain.

‘In constant flow’: the dancers of the Royal Ballet in Light of Passage. Photography: Tristram Kenton / The Observer

The intensity of this is heightened in the final section, Ride, which takes on the last journey from life to death and opens with two older dancers – Isidora Barbara Joseph and Christopher Havell (of the Company of Elders) in tender hugs. The set is illuminated by pillars of life and large swirls of red and black, like the aftermath of fireworks.

When the dancers of the Royal Ballet appear, they move in ways that suggest angels, but also imperfect humans; the group is in a constant flux, but the couples explode into sharply delineated duets, the bodies flex and curl over each other. They seem so vital yet so full of innate desire. Love, loss and life are all expressed in a magnificent dance.

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