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Revenge, passion to be explored in 'Kidd Pivot: The Tempest Replica'

By Laura Kaye, Daily Arts Writer
Published September 21, 2012

Fortuitous winds bring with them upheaval, destroying the calm of a community. But in this case, “Kidd Pivot: The Tempest Replica” is taking the Power Center by storm with an intense and dramatic production, as they retell Shakespeare's classic story, “The Tempest.”

The story relates how the magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda are betrayed by his duplicitous brother Antonio and have been abandoned on an island for 12 long years. As the play opens, Prospero utilizes his magical powers to create a tempest, causing a ship carrying Antonio, the King of Naples, and his son Ferdinand to become shipwrecked on the island. As the play unfolds, a rebellion ensues, murder plots are revealed and a passionate love affair develops. “The Tempest” is a tale comprised of violent strife, romance and certainly compassion and forgiveness.

The performance is separated into two parts: In the first piece, the public will encounter a replica of the characters from the play, in which the dancers present a neo-pantomime style.

“In a sense, the first part is not dance,” said Eric Beauchesne, the dancer playing Prospero. “It’s instead a bridge between dance and pantomime and theater. For me it’s the first time, as a dance artist, that I have done this type of movement.”

All the characters, except Prospero, appear in white costumes with white masks, making the dancers appear subhuman. However, the white costumes also create a unity among them, hoping to convey how humans are comprised of many of the same emotions, such as hope, love and anger. Furthermore, Beauchesne explained that white is very simple, forcing the audience to focus on the language the dancers are communicating. Even though the audience won't be able to recognize the faces of the performers, they will be able to determine whom they represent by specific elements of their costumes.

In the second part of the piece, choreographer Cyrstal Pite implements a more traditional dance style, focusing on the abstract movement and the physicality of the dancers. The costumes are also altered to an urban style. Beauchesne explained how Pite is interested in telling a story with alternate perspectives and thus uses the two sections of the performance to allow the audience to enter the work through different doors. Prospero, for example, is more than simply the main character. As the only one not dressed in white, he acts as a creator of the entire production, manipulating the white puppet-like dancers.

“At the beginning, I make the show happen,” Beauchesne said. “And in the second half, I get caught up by the show, as if I was swallowed by it. In the second half, I perform a very physical dance, which includes a lot of partnering. The dancers in the second part are not in white anymore but they are still embodying a certain color of these characters and you can still feel that. You can relate to them as the real characters and not the replica ones.”

Beauchesne believes that “Kidd Pivot: The Tempest Replica” is not only about the narration of a classic tale, but about Pite’s choreography and how her intense style formulates a set of emotions and images for the audience to experience.

Even though this performance is based on the story of “The Tempest,” Pite focuses on the plight of the main characters and the motifs of revenge and passion in emotional and psychological terms. She also plays with the tensions and violence that develop between the characters.

“Her choreography makes you feel that the dance is just happening to the dancer,” Beauchesne said. “It looks like someone is puppeteering that person. It seems that the human being is letting go and giving up to a deeper language and energy, which as a viewer I found very compelling and touching to watch.”