Junior Associates in Crystal Pite’s Light of Passage
Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite has been praised by The New York Times as ‘one of the most talented and intriguing choreographers working today’. In 2017, she created the stunning Olivier Award–winning one-act contemporary ballet piece, Flight Pattern, a moving exploration of the refugee crisis. Now, she has revisited the piece and turned it into a full-length work, Light of Passage. We couldn’t be prouder that 15 of our Junior Associates were chosen to dance in this important work, which premiers today at the Royal Opera House.
Pite created the original work as a way of coping with the various interconnected humanitarian crises in the world; her way of speaking clearly and truthfully about something she cares about.
Her expansion on this ambitious vision is to ‘speak about something very human, and these big questions of borders and thresholds.’
She said, ‘One thing that really struck me, watching world events unfold, was the question of children in all this. I wanted to get at our duty and our responsibility to protect them and to take care of their world. So, I always had it in my mind that I wanted to have children in part two.’
Our Junior Associates on stage
The students, aged nine to 11 were chosen after two very enjoyable and instructive workshops where Crystal showed and rehearsed movements and ‘moods, and feelings’. The children were able to show that they understood how to connect these moods and movements at an exceptionally high level.
Rehearsals started the following week. In them, each child practised free-flowing and natural movements. There is a lot of interaction with the dancers in the Company, who have each been so gracious in helping and encouraging the children.
The young students have also had the opportunity to practice contact work, sliding along or being lifted, which was achieved through a lot of cooperation and trust between them and the Company dancers. Some of the children also have specific parts within the Company groupings, and have shown immense care in learning their role in this work.
Victoria Collinson, our Associate Programme and Primary Steps Artistic Manager, said that she, ‘was absolutely amazed by what the Junior Associates did onstage — it really is quite something.’
The Associates have learned their parts quickly and have been incredibly focused, but they’ve also had fun and really enjoyed the process.
Photo credits: Andrej Uspenski