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Crystal Pite was born on December 15, 1970 in Terrace, British Columbia. She started dancing at the young age of 4, under the direction of Maureen Eastick and Wendy Green in Victoria. There she studied ballet, tap, jazz, musical theatre, drama and singing. Although early on in her career, Pite developed a vivid love of dance and was a talented dancer, she soon discovered that she shared a passion for choreography as well. Her teachers encouraged her to further develop this interest and so Pite began to experiment. At the age of thirteen, she choreographed her first amateur piece, entitled The Bug (1983), which was entered into the Young Choreographers Category of the Victoria Dance Festival.
During the summers, Crystal supplemented her dance training at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and also at the Banff Centre for the Arts. When she was not dancing, she was making up dances for herself in the dining room at home. In 1988, she joined Ballet British Columbia professionally.
Crystal Pite spent eight years of her professional career with the collegial Ballet B.C. in Vancouver under the directorship of Reid Anderson, Patricia Neary, Barry Ingham and John Alleyne. During this time she had the opportunity to work with over thirty different choreographers, including John Alleyne, Serge Bennathan, David Earle and William Forsythe. It was also here that Pite had the opportunity to craft Between the Bliss and Me (1989), her first professional piece, which she created during Ballet B.C.'s first choreographic workshop. The artistic directors were so impressed with her piece that they immediately added it to the company's repertoire.
A sampling of some of her early choreographic works include: Reflections on Billie (1992) and Shapes of a Passing (1994) commissioned by Ballet Jorgen. Pite also created a piece for the Alberta Ballet, entitled In a Time of Darkness (1994), which depicts the darkness of war, revolution and violence.
The piece for the Alberta Ballet won her the Clifford E. Lee Choreographic Award in 1995 and a six-week residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Pite was the youngest person ever to receive this choreographic award, originally established in 1978. During her six-week stay as artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Pite created Quest, a piece which was subsequently incorporated into the repertoire of the Alberta Ballet.
Crystal Pite has established a name for herself both in Canada and abroad. In 1996, she joined William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt in Germany where she danced for five years and toured Europe, New York and Asia. While in Frankfurt she also choreographed Field: Fiction, inspired by Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, which brings to life the joys, frustrations and peculiarities of a writer's life.
Pite's style, according to reviewers, incorporates elements of her personality: curiosity, humour, intelligence and boldness. Her choreographic technique and method is full of inventive steps and risk-taking elements.
Some of her most striking choreographic pieces include: Two Dances for Jane (1994); Inside Passage (1995), a quiet duet created for Judith Marcuse's Kiss Project at Performance Works on Granville Island; Pendulum (1995), a work created for Les Ballets jazz de Montréal; Moving Day (1996); and Short Works: 23 (2002), twenty-three one-minute pieces. Some of her other recent works include Hopping the Twig (1998), created for Ballet Jorgen; Excerpts From a Future Work (2000); Cruelties Like These (2003), commissioned by Day Helesic; and Uncollected Work (2003), a duet created for Cori Caulfield.
Pite returned to Canada in 2001 and currently lives in Vancouver, where she started her own company, "Kidd Pivot", and continues to perform in her own work. Pite is not only an accomplished dancer and choreographer. She also pursues many other interests. She is a visual artist and also performs as part of a band under the pseudonym of Chrissy Rockbottom.
Crystal Pite is currently choreographer-in-residence at Les Ballets jazz de Montréal. Her future projects include a piece for Lynda Raino, commissioned by the Victoria Dance Series.
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