Do you believe dance is a finished product? According to Jill Johnson, Dance Director, and Stager of Forsythe work for over 20 years, William Forsythe —world renowned dancer and choreographer—did not believe dance was ever complete. “We’re constantly researching and adding new information to the techniques and methodologies that we use,” states Johnson. “[Forsythe] moves in between different expressions of his own ideas… He has an idea and figures out the right way to create it.”
Boston Ballet’sFull on Forsythe presents three of William Forsythe’s choreographic masterpieces: Pas/Parts 2018, the North American premiereofBlake Works I, andthe world premiere of Playlist (EP).
Pas/Parts 2018starts the show off with purposely screechy, disco tech like music by Thom Willems. It is combined with chaotic and sharp movements of simple ballet moves made complex by the fast tempo and the swift execution by the dancers. The choice of music left the audience wondering what, exactly, was Forsythe’s intended effect. Forsythe, in a way, bent the rules of ballet to form a contemporary piece leaving most classical ballet rules behind. While the skills of the dancers were exemplary, the music, while intended to be striking, left me with more questions than answers.
Act II opens up with Forsythe’s Blake Works I. Onlookers’ ears got a break from the overwhelming score of Act I to be pleasantly surprised by the modern music of English singer, songwriter, James Blake, from his album The Color of Anything. The unique choice of music is aligned with more recognizable ballet moves, with a twist of overexaggerated and sharp body movements. The costumes changed from previously simple leotards, to elegant blue skirts which aligned with the audible shift, both creating a more pleasant viewer experience.
Artistic Director, Mikko Nissinen, saved the best for last with the world premiere of Playlist (EP). Along with Blake Works I, Playlist (EP)features modern music including Khalid, “Location” and Natalie Cole, “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” uniting classical ballet with a contemporary feel. Singing along while the dancers perform ballet is a unique experience; Forsythe perfectly was able to marry the two. The costumes complimented the free style of dance with the dancers dressed in bright pink and blue.
The show dedicated to William Forsythe choreographic brilliance was perfectly captured by the dancers and crew of the Boston Ballet. The effort and skill shone with every meticulous move executed throughout the whole show and left the audience longing for what else Forsythe will create.
Tickets are still available at https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/Tickets-Performances/Performances/Full-on-Forsythe.aspx
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Information and quotes used in this article come from the Boston Ballet’s Full on ForsythePlaybill, pages 15-16. Photos by Angela Sterling; courtesy of Boston Ballet