Who is Arthur Pita?

Arthur Pita began studying ballet and modern dance in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1991, at age 19, he moved to London to pursue a master's degree at the London Contemporary Dance School. Six years later, he joined Matthew Bourne’s dance company, New Adventures.

Arthur Pita and SF Ballet rehearse Salome // © Erik Tomasson

In 2003, he transitioned from performing to choreography, working on operas, musicals, plays, and films. From 2002-04 he was an associate artist at The Place in London. There he launched Open Heart Productions and premiered two new works in 2003: Boomshe SheBoom and Bugger, a Fairy Tale. His talent was quickly recognized: London’s The Stage called Pita “a choreographer of rare dramatic flair and considerable originality.” Pita's The Metamorphosis, set on Royal Ballet principal dancer Edward Watson, premiered in 2011. Based on the Kafka novel, this dark and surrealistic ballet earned Pita a Critics Circle National Dance Award and a Southbank SkyArts Award, and Watson an Olivier Award.

Pita's other works 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. He was one of several choreographers selected to create scenes 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. Pita has created two works for San Francisco Ballet, Salome in 2017 and Björk Ballet, which premiered as part of the 2018 Unbound festival of new works.