White Bird Concludes Uncaged with a Masterwork “Betroffenheit” from Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre



Who/What: Betroffenheit, A Collaboration between Kidd Pivot (Artistic Director Crystal Pite) and Electric Company Theatre (Artistic Director Jonathon Young)
Presented by: White Bird Uncaged
When: Thursday – Saturday, March 31 – April 2, 2016, 8:00 pm
Where: Newmark Theater, SW Broadway & Main, Portland, OR
Lead Uncaged Sponsor: Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate
Lead Performance Sponsor: Nancy and George Thorn
Media Sponsor: Willamette Week
Also sponsored in part by Work for Art.

“Emotionally intense and unsettling as it often is, this gripping and visually arresting production exemplifies what can happen when theatre and dance combine to achieve what neither could accomplish alone… it stands as a testament to the redemptive power of art.”
The Toronto Star

Led by celebrated choreographer Crystal Pite, Kidd Pivot returns to White Bird in collaboration with Vancouver’s celebrated Electric Company Theatre (Artistic Director Jonathon Young), to perform a thrilling dance/theater work Betroffenheit. Premiering in Toronto last July, Betroffenheit has been greeted by unanimous acclaim wherever it has been performed, called “stunning” by The Toronto Star and “rare and staggering” by Canada’s The Globe and Mail. Kidd Pivot’s Artistic Director is Crystal Pite, well known to White Bird’s audiences for her memorable “Lost Action” (2008) and “Dark Matters (2012) as well as her recent Ballet BC piece “Solo Echo,” seen last November. Jonathon Young’s Electric Company Theatre is a collective formed in 1996 dedicated to challenging the conventions of theatre with new, cross disciplinary works. Both Vancouver-based companies have come together to create a dazzling, original work that theatrically fuses movement, music, text, and visual design.

The German word “Betroffenheit” can be roughly translated as “consternation” or “bewilderment,” but to Crystal Pite it translates as “a speechlessness . . . there’s a loss of words”. Touching on themes of loss, trauma, addiction and recovery, Betroffenheit is a boundary-stretching hybrid of theatre and dance. Jonathon Young and award-winning director Kim Collier experienced a tragedy seven years ago when their only child, fourteen-year-old Azra, and her two cousins died in a fire. Crystal Pite states, “Jonathon Young’s personal story of trauma and loss—his own betroffenheit—is at the heart of this venture. Jonathon has challenged me to use our art form to grapple with the question of suffering, and he has steadied me with his courage.” Performed by Jonathon Young and Kidd Pivot’s five outstanding dancers, the two-act work moves seamlessly besides scenes of intense drama and musical comedy. A sequence involving a drug stupor is followed by a scene evoking a Bob Fosse musical, with the tap dancers in bowler hats. One of the many strengths of this work is that it is not specific to Young and Colliers’s tragic experience. In Betroffenheit we understand that something indescribably terrifying has happened to this particular protagonist (Jonathon Young’s role), but disaster can strike any of us. How he transcends grief in the wake of disaster is the substance of Betroffenheit, which is sad, funny, moving and uplifting all at the same time.

Canadian choreographer and performer Crystal Pite is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot in Vancouver. Kidd Pivot’s performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigour, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk. Pite is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater and Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre. In 2013, Crystal was appointed Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, London. In 2015 Pite received the Olivier Award in London for outstanding achievement in dance and the National Dance Award last month for best modern choreography for her Sadler’s Wells piece Polaris.
Kidd Pivot’s performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigor, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk. The company’s distinct choreographic language – a breadth of movement fusing classical elements and the complexity and freedom of structured improvisation – is marked by a strong theatrical sensibility and a keen sense of wit and invention.

Jonathon Young is co-founder and current Artistic Director of Electric Company Theatre. He has collaborated on the making of over a dozen original productions since the company began creating work together in 1996, including: Tear the Curtain! (a film/theatre hybrid for Arts Club Theatre and Canadian Stage), No Exit (a conceptual re-working of Jean-Paul Sartre’s play performed in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and San Francisco) and Studies in Motion (Vancouver Playhouse, Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, Theatre Calgary, and at Canadian Stage in Toronto). In addition, Jonathon works across Canada on stage and screen as a freelance actor.
Electric Company Theatre was originally formed in Vancouver as a collective in 1996 by Kim Collier (Siminovitch Prize winner for theatre direction), David Hudgins, Jonathon Young and Kevin Kerr (Governor General’s Award winner in playwriting), who met while training at Vancouver’s Studio 58. Electric Company Theatre is one of Canada’s leading creators of live theatre, rich in spectacle and adventurous in form, challenging theatrical conventions while preserving a strong sense of story.

White Bird Concludes Uncaged with a Masterwork “Betroffenheit” from Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre