Soloist Lindsi Dec on Working with Crystal Pite

In 2009, Lindsi Dec saw her first work by choreographer Crystal Pite, Lost Action, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. But she recently admitted that she didn’t actually buy a ticket. Here’s what happened…

Lindsi Dec and Batkhurel Bold in Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven. Photo © Angela Sterling


PNB sent a group of dancers to the festival to perform a program of three works by 
Ulysses Dove and their tour dates overlapped with Kidd Pivot, Pite’s company. When PNB arrived, there was already lot of buzz about Pite, so the show was sold out. An intrepid group who “knew somebody” (we didn’t make Lindsi name names) gained access to the sound booth and watched the show from there. Lindsi was part of that group and she was blown away by what she saw, saying, “it was phenomenal”Now, over four years later, she’s getting the chance to work with Pite herself.  

Last week, when I sat down to talk with Lindsi, I could sense she was excited. She had just been in the studio learning her role for the PNB premiere of Emergence. I asked her what she likes so much about rehearsing with Pite and she replied, “Just everything”, and laughed before going further. “She’s humble and energetic and she shows the dancers so much respect. I mean, she’s famous, and of course we all know who she is, yet she came around and introduced herself to everyone. The energy she brings into the studio is so positive, it’s just contagious. She has this light about her that draws you in.” 

Lindsi Dec and Lesley Rausch in David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin.
Photo © Angela Sterling

Like Pite, Lindsi’s physicality and charisma make her a powerhouse both onstage and off. She is a gifted artist who can handle the full range of classical and contemporary roles that PNB brings to the mainstage. Sometimes, Dec moves so easily between genres that you almost take it for grantedlike someone who’s already fluent in three languages, why not a fourth or fifth? But you can tell when she really likes what she’s dancing, and she can’t hide her passion for Pite’s work. 

When I ask how the Emergence vocabulary feels on her body she says, “I love it! I get to do all those things you can’t do in classical ballet, I get to turn in, undulate, whack, slice, and sickle. It’s just a whole new range of movement I get to access. It initiates from different points in your body and just ripples through you.” I push a little and she elaborates a bit on how difficult it can be to learn how to move this way, “You have to be really fluid. The way Crystal moves is different than anything dancers learn so I just try and emulate her, but also try to make my body understand the process and initiation that she’s describing and demonstrating. You basically have to move as if you have no bones. I could watch her for hours…days even.” Having been mesmerized by the Company’s Emergence rehearsals myself the past few weeks, I get where she’s coming from. 

So what does Lindsi hope PNB audiences take away from the upcoming premiere of Emergence? “I just hope they are blown away, like I was the first time I saw Crystal’s work. She puts a lot of thought into what she makes and she’s one of my favorite choreographers. This is a really cool, all-encompassing project and being able to work with her is just incredible”. 

Be blown away when PNB premieres Emergence on KYLIAN + PITE Nov. 8-17, 2013 @ McCaw Hall. 

Blog by Judith May Austin; photos by Angela Sterling.  

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