In The Making

Why legendary choreographer Crystal Pite stopped dancing

Pite wondered if when she stopped dancing she'd lose the joy of choreography too, but now she dances through others.

She wondered if when she stopped dancing she'd lose the joy of choreography, but now she dances through others

(CBC Arts)

At 47, Olivier Award-winning choreographer Crystal Pite is already a legend in the world of dance. Her work brings together the magic of theatre and the rigour of dance in pieces that are formally inventive but also moving on an emotional level. Watch our full In the Making episode with Crystal Pite online now or this Friday September 28th at 8:30pm (9pm NT).

For her most recent production Betroffenheit, she joined forces with innovative playwright/performer Jonathon Young. Internationally heralded, The Globe and Mail called it "a harrowing representation of trauma and suffering — but it's also a stunning testament to what can be made when life undergoes a pretty strange and irreducible process — when it's turned into art...Betroffenheit is rare and staggering." The work catapulted Pite's career into another level of awareness and critical acclaim.

Watch the clip from In the Making:

Why Crystal Pite stopped dancing

3 years ago
"I always wondered if once I stopped dancing if I still would want to choreograph. So much of my joy in being a choreographer came out of the experience of dancing." 1:01

In this clip from our new series In the Making, Pite talks about why she stopped dancing in her own pieces in 2010. A difficult decision, she discusses how it has impacted her choreography work ever since. "I have more knowledge and understanding of certain things, but less ability in my body," she explains. "So it's an interesting pull in two directions there. What I do have are incredible people around me. I have incredible dancers — I dance through them."

In the Making is an immersive journey inside the creative process. The documentary series follows host Sean O'Neill across the country and around the world alongside some of Canada's leading artists as they bring new work to life and face pivotal moments of risk and reward. All eight episodes are available to stream online now, with individual episodes broadcasting weekly each Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC.

Watch the trailer:

Each episode follows an artist from across the creative spectrum — visual art, film, music, dance, theatre — with a unique approach to art-making and something to say about the world. Sean visits artists at home, in studio, backstage, and in the field, giving viewers rare access to intimate creative spaces and inspiring moments of realization.

Stream every episode of In the Making now, or watch them weekly Fridays at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC TV.