Here's a sincere confession: this time around I really enjoyed what Crystal Pite and her company (Bryan Arias, Eric Beauchesne, Sandra Marin Garcia, Yannick Matthon, Jiri Pokorny, Cindy Salgado and Jermaine Maurice Spivey) shared in what must be called an incredible piece of dance theatre - "The Tempest Replica" (2011) - at The Joyce! This is Pike's brilliant re-telling of Shakespeare's last play, "The Tempest" and the story of the character Prospero, as Pike puts it, "...a magician and the usurped Duke of Milan." Her story is filled with revenge, spirit, surrender, reality and community. The audience enters, and we see Beauchesne diligently folding and placing tiny, paper ships around him, until he finally yells, "Ariel," and Garcia enters. We later know her as "Spirit," another character who it turns out is indebted to Prospero. The first section then grows as Pite introduces more characters (Miranda, Caliban, Alonso, Sebastian, Ferdinand and Antonio) connected to Prospero, but presented as white-masked figures against a backdrop with an animated film narrated step-by-step. What a journey this was. Not only was the film great, the dancers adoptation of Pite's animated, robot-like movement was indeed captivating. Take for example, "Ariel's" spirit-like, shape-shifting with every step that would often end with a flickering of her fingers, or towards the end when all the men, as if one, sequentially moved with every move that "Prospero" (the only one not masked) took. Beause these Pite dancers are such wonderful movers, it was such a pleasure to see them do away with their other personas and return to sweep the stage with their sleek and oh so mature understanding of movement, in real clothes. Kudos to the entire crew for a wonderful production!
I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member at The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."