Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 3: Overwhelmed

“I wonder if I have the capacity to manage something so overwhelming.”

Crystal Pite, choreographer

The Royal Ballet’s production of Flight Pattern is about the experiences of refugees. Its choreographer, Crystal Pite, said the ballet was her way of coping with events happening in the world. 

I went to the cinema live-stream in 2019. I was determined to see it after hearing the principal, Marcelino Sambé, speak about his experience of dancing it. 

He said many of the ballet’s movements were things that Pite had observed in refugees. So he would bring his hands to his face, rub away and stretch his hands as far from himself as possible. Refugees are, he said, trying to remove their situation from themselves, from their skin. A lot of their movements are triggered by pain. 

In dancing his part, he felt a lot of anger, and a sense of helplessness. 

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