Student Blog: Let your body lead you, with Kidd Pivot

February 26, 2018

kidd pivot-usc-master-class

Eric Beauchesne of Kidd Pivot with BFA students | USC Kaufman

By Celine Kiner

After seeing Kidd Pivot‘s performance of “Betroffenheit at the Broad Stage on Thursday evening, I was rendered quite literally speechless. And sure, I was being a little dramatic, but I wasn’t the only one who reacted strongly–tears were not scarce in the audience.

A look into “Betroffenheit”

Choreographed by Crystal Pite and written by Electric Company Theatre‘s Jonathon Young, the full-length evening work revolves around the process of coping with disaster. Though Young’s own tragedy inspired “Betroffenheit,” it did what all good art does–reached to the audience’s personal experience. And the dancers–oh, the dancers–we’ve taken master classes from Kidd Pivot dancer Jermaine Spivey and his partner Spenser Theberge at USC Kaufman, and we have seen sparks and hints of his genius. But on that stage, Spivey was inhuman. Pite’s work and her dancers are able to disregard gravity and then call upon it whenever they so choose. Their command of movement is so undeniable that they have moved onto perfecting acting.

How the artists move

The next morning in a master class, Kidd Pivot rehearsal director Eric Beauchesne explained that he no longer sees the company as just dancers–they are actors, performers, and from what I saw, they must be magicians. Beauchesne gave us a little look into Pite’s world, teaching us that our own body parts had all the intuition, and we just had to learn to follow them. Class was improvisation-based, and Beauchesne directed our improvisation with simple tasks. None of them seemed particularly outrageous, but it was obvious that thousands of hours working with these tasks could lead to mastery of suspension and release, such mastery as we had seen onstage the night before.

The artists of Kidd Pivot could only have found this incredible movement literacy through hours of intelligent and aware exploration. Beauchesne’s class let me discover physical abilities of which I was completely unaware–now it’s up to us as students to do the research.