Dance in the Age of the Technological Revolution – An Interview with Shamel Pitts
Shamel Pitts is a dancer, choreographer and ex-member of the Israeli dance ensemble Batsheva. For Qiio he talks about the unifying power of dance and whether we will one day dance with robots.
Brooklyn-born Shamel Pitts is Afro Futurist and Gaga Ambassador. In his work he investigates interpersonal differences and at the same time conjures up the power to overcome those differences. After leaving the Batsheva Ensemble in 2016, he developed a trilogy of sequential works. The first work, Black Box, is a solo; First performed on the evening of his 30th birthday in front of a total of 30 friends, lasting exactly 30 minutes. Shamel Pitt’s wiry-defined figure moves into the soundtrack of a self-composed text. Black Velvet, the second part, is a duet with the Brazilian dancer Mirelle Martins. The piece shows a churned search, a coming together and separating two naked bodies in the dark. Currently, Pitts is working on Black Hole, the conclusion of the trilogy, where he pursues black holes and cosmic mysteries. For Qiio, I’ve had a Skype conversation with Shamel Pitts between Berlin and Montreal.
Mr. Pitts, Batsheva is one of the most famous dance ensembles in the world. At least since the documentary “Mr. Gaga, “Ohad Naharin’s style and works are well known far beyond the Israeli context. Why did you leave the ensemble?
I was an integral part of the ensemble for seven years. Everything went wonderfully. Batsheva had become my home and base. But it was also time to go. Batsheva simply took up too much space in my life. I wanted to give my own interests more space.
That would be?
For example, I love aliens, that is, what they symbolize: the ambiguous, the stranger. In my work, I feel differences, I celebrate them, but I also want to show that we humans are much more similar to us than that we differ from each other.
Are differences in the political climate of these days not more likely to incite people against each other instead of approximating them to each other?
I agree! This corresponds to what I observe and experience myself. But it does not match my inner or my artistic attitude. I am interested in extreme contrasts. For example, the question of what happens in the cosmos, in contrast to life on earth. My latest piece Black Hole plays with the hypothesis that black holes, as the greatest possible gravitational force, can not escape anything. Or with the question: what is behind it, what comes after the black hole? That inspires my imagination. My hope is that such an external perspective allows us to develop a different view of ourselves while recognizing a certain harmony. Something that is between people and ultimately connects us together.