Crystal Pite: 'In ballet, girls are less likely to be prized for being mavericks'

Ahead of her new work, which is based on a profound real-life tragedy, the sought-after choreographer discusses dancing with William Forysthe, motherhood and why there are so few women at the top of her profession

“You’re not stretching your face enough”, explains Crystal Pite, patiently. She demonstrates with a lop-sided grimace that distorts her rather beautiful, open features into a kind of agitated question mark. It’s not the standard rehearsal note from a choreographer to their dancers, but the eight men and women in the studio mimic Pite’s expression as they dance, and an unsettling new energy comes into their bodies. You can feel a shift in the atmosphere of the room.

It’s this close attention to detail, this hunting down of the precise physical image, that gives Pite’s work its unusually poetic quality. It’s also key to her passion to communicate ideas, emotions and even stories through her choreography. From works like the epic, elemental Polaris to The Statement – the study of conflict, which I’m watching her create for Nederlands Dans Theater – Pite’s instinct is always to reach through the steps for some direct connection with her audience.

Related: Crystal Pite: the Canadian choreographer bringing a bold new mood to contemporary dance

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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