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Betroffenheit

By Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young

Canada

  • English
  • 106 minutes

A unique opportunity to see this multi-awardwinning hybrid dance and theatershow, which explores deep pain in the human soul andourcapacity to overcome it.


Betroffenheit is a German word meaning a state of shock, bewilderment or consternation. It’s also the expression that best defines what happened in real life to one of its creators, Jonathon Young, who, in 2009, he lost his teenage daughter and two of her cousins in a fire during a family holiday. Combining tap, salsa, songs and puppets, Betroffenheit is an ingenious and tender exploration of disconnection, isolation and what it means for a human to accept a tragedy of this magnitude.

Both raw and fascinating, this dance-theater hybrid was chosen as Best Show of 2016 by Canadian dance critics and won the 2017 Olivier award for Best New Dance Production. Jonathon Young won the award for Best Modern Dance Performance at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and the play won the 2018 Rose d’Or award and the 2018 Golden Prague Crystal award.

Cast and crew


Created by: CrystalPiteandJonathon Young | Written by: Jonathon Young | Cast: Bryan Arias, David Raymond, Cindy Salgado, Jermaine Spivey, TiffanyTregarthen, Jonathon Young | Produced by: 3minutes West | Coproduced by: Kidd Pivotand theElectric Company TheaterforBBC Four | Broadcast director: Jeff Tudor.

Crystal Pite

Creator

An exceptional choreographer

This Canadian artist is a member of both the BC Ballet in Vancouver and the Frankfurt Ballet, which is directed by William Forsythe. With 30 years’ experience, she’s created more than 50 pieces for a body of work that has made her one of the most interesting choreographers of our times. She collaborates with the Nederlans Dans Theater (NDT), the Paris Opera Ballet and the London Royal Ballet, among others. She has won numerous awards, including the 2017 Olivier award for Best New Dance Production and the 2018 Montreal Grand Prix de la Danse (PDM). In 2002, she founded Kidd Pivot, touring both nationally and abroad with this company and its critically acclaimed productions, such as Dark Matters and Lost Action. The company’s artistic residency at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt (2010-2012) gave Pite the opportunity to create and perform The You Show and The Tempest Replica.

Jonathon Young

Jonathon Young

Writer in residence

This Canadian actor and writer is currently the resident playwright at Kidd Pivot and has collaborated in the development of more than 20 original productions with the Electric Company Theater, including pieces such as Tear the Curtain! and No Exit, a reworking of the play by Jean-Paul Sartre. He’s also worked in Canada as an independent actor and has collaborated with Crystal Pite on two projects for the Nederlands Dans Theatre: Parade and The Statement, which was performed at the New York City Center. He has won the UK National Dance Award and several Jessie Richardson acting and writing awards.

“It addresses the experience of human suffering with raw and heroic brilliance”.

The Guardian

“Raw, funny and profoundly human”.

The Independent

—It’s not a narrated text with choreography or choreography with narration, but rather a mix not just of disciplines, but also of techniques and resources, including cabaret, clowns, puppets, modern dance and ballet. This show’s two creators – she’s a dancer and he’s a playwright – bring the best of dance and theater to the stage at the same time: the intensity of both bodies and performance.

—It’s got two parts: in the first, Young himself recreates his desperation and addictions, surrounded by dancers using every chorographical resource imaginable and dancing jazz and tap to drag the star back to life. The second part is pure theatrical lyricism: the stage is cleared, leaving just a huge beam in the center, in order to give the dancers’ bodies room for a sublime sequence.

—It’s an opportunity to appreciate the talent of director Crystal Pite and of the five excellent dancers on stage. It really does have highly lyrical touches.

Contemporary dance: A dance genre that emphasizes composition rather than technique, it emerged as a reaction to classical versions and aims to satisfy the need to express yourself freely using the body. It’s a kind of dance that aims to transmit an idea, feeling or emotion, combining bodily movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It also incorporates elements from different genres to convey that dance is a work of art.

William Forsythe: This New Yorker was born in 1949 and is considered one of best dancers of the last fifty years. His work is based on re-orientating the practice of ballet, taking it from its classic repertoire to a more dynamic form in the twenty-first century. He’s produced a broad range of artistic projects as well as choreographies, including installations, films and web-based creations. He began his training with Nolan Dingman and Christa Long, then moved to the Joffrey Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was named resident choreographer in 1976, creating pieces for its cast and other famous groups from Europe and the United States. He directed the Frankfurt Ballet for 20 years from 1984 and set up The Forsythe Company, which he ran from 2005 to 2015. He has won an enormous number of awards.

—Find out more about the story behind Betroffenheit in The Banff Center’s interview with Jonathon Young.

— “What interests me is the human spirit and how we connect to each other”, says Crystal Pite in an interview with the Canadian National Arts Center.

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