Canadian dancer/choreographer Crystal Pite and company, Kidd Pivot, wowed audiences at On the Boards in February with her allegorical Dark Matters. Ostensibly, the title of her new work refers to both states of physics and of the human condition. But for me, the piece was more about the gut (human condition) than about the neutrino. With music by Vancouver composer and long-time collaborator Owen Belton, this piece was an electrifying essay on risk and regret.

Pite’s cautionary tale features the creation (a puppet) of a solitary artist (the amazing Peter Chu). But this tiny, gutsy, autonomous doll, assisted by several able-bodied dancers clothed in black, performs stunning back-leaps and other creepy moves that are altogether maleficent. Sometimes its actions — a genuflection, say, are outright poignant. Pite’s moves for the dancers are grand, clean, smooth, and coherent — every part of the body seems to be communicating with the other. What then follows is a catastrophic pas de deux in which personae and environment are completely ruined due to lack of self-control and self-awareness. The movement is gorgeous and unpredictable. Brimming with pathos, it’s a piece I would see over and over again.


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