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Choreographer Crystal Pite and the Royal Ballet reveal the making of Flight Pattern, Crystal's moving debut with the company.

Choreographer Crystal Pite and the Royal Ballet reveal the making of Flight Pattern, Crystal's moving debut with the company.

Flight Pattern is a moving and profound response to the international refugee crisis, set to the first movement of Henryk Górecki's Sympony no. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It received 5-star reviews when it premiered in the spring.

Such is the vast repertoire of the Royal Opera House, Flight Pattern was scheduled for very few performances in its first run. But, for two months this year, Crystal brilliantly described her working process to Radio 4. It's extremely rare for the Royal Ballet to allow access to the making of an artwork to this degree, and Crystal's openness was exceptional.

Crystal illuminates her process, her insights, her doubts. The programme accompanies her as she turns her early vision into a dance work for a major international stage - her dance phrase-making and her particular movement style, the challenge of working out how to dance to such powerful music (especially to the soprano's lament) and how to convey the experience of refugees. We hear costume fittings, the arrival of the set design and conjure up the power of light and shadow on stage.

Other speakers include Kevin O'Hare, the Director of the Royal Ballet, and Music Director Koen Kessels. Kristen McNally and Calvin Richardson, two young dancers, describe the impact of Crystal, a creative presence who flew in from Vancouver to make such a wrenching barefoot dance.

Recorded and produced by Frances Byrnes.
A Rockethouse production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

42 minutes