Who is Arthur Pita?

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Portuguese choreographer Arthur Pita was born in South Africa and is known for eclectic dance theater works that blur the lines between genres. His first SF Ballet work, still to be titled, is part of Program 5 of the 2017 Repertory Season and features an original score by frequent collaborator Frank Moon. 

Arthur Pita working with dancers. Photo by Doug Gifford.

Arthur Pita working with dancers. Photo by Doug Gifford.

Pita began dancing ballet and modern dance in Johannesburg, South Africa and at one point, won the World Disco championships in the under-14 category. In 1991, at age 19, he moved to London to attend the London Contemporary Dance School for his master’s degree. Six years later, he joined Matthew Bourne’s dance company, New Adventures.

In 2003, he transitioned to a more choreographic role, working in opera, musicals, plays, and film. From 2002-04 he was an associate artist at The Place, where he launched Open Heart Productions and premiered Boomshe SheBoom and Bugger, a Fairy Tale in 2003. In a review of from that time period, London’s The Stage called Pita “a choreographer of rare dramatic flair and considerable originality.” The Metamorphosis (2007), set on The Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Edward Watson at Royal Opera House, premiered in 2007. It was a success, earning Pita a Critics Circle National Dance Award and a Southbank SkyArts Award. Watson also received an Olivier Award for his role in The Metamorphosis.

Other works choreographed by Pita include Facada (2014), a theatrical comedy for international stars Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova; and The Ballad of Mack and Jenny (2015), a pas de deux for Watson and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan. Pita was also one of the choreographers handpicked to create a scene in Paris Opera Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker, along with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Édouard Locke. Pita’s film work includes: Sunshine on Leith and Ex Machina. He is currently an artist in residence at Jerwood DanceHouse—DanceEast.

Learn more about Pita’s new work here.

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