As an American working internationally for the last 30 years, William Forsythe is recognised as one of the world’s foremost choreographers. His work is celebrated for re-orientating the practice of ballet from its identification with classical repertoire into a dynamic 21st century art form.
Raised and trained principally in New York, Forsythe arrived on the European dance scene in his early 20s as a dancer, and eventually as Resident Choreographer of Stuttgart Ballet. At the same time, he created new works for ballet companies in Munich, The Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Paris, New York and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as Director of Ballett Frankfurt where he created many of the most celebrated dance theatre works of our time, such as The Loss of Small Detail (1991), in collaboration with composer Thom Willems and designer Issey Miyake.
Other key works from the Ballett Frankfurt years include Gänge(1982), ArtifactArtifact (1984), Impressing the CzarImpressing the Czar (1988), Limb’s Theorem (1990), A L I E/N A(C)TION (1992), Eidos:Telos (1995), Endless House (1999) and Kammer/Kammer (2000). Forsythe’s choreography and his companies’ performances have won overwhelming audience acclaim and the most prestigious awards the field has to offer, such as the Bessie (1988, 1998, 2004), Laurence Olivier Award (1992, 1999, 2008), Commandeur des Arts et Lettres (1999), German Distinguished Service Cross (1997) and the Wexner Prize (2002). He has been chosen as Choreographer of the Year several times by the international critics’ survey.
After the closure of Ballett Frankfurt in 2004, Forsythe established a new, more independent ensemble – The Forsythe Company. The company was founded with the support of the states of Saxony and Hesse, the cities of Dresden and Frankfurt am Main, and private sponsors
Forsythe’s most recent creations are developed and performed exclusively by the new company while his previous work is prominently featured in the repertoire of virtually every major ballet company in the world including The Mariinsky, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet among many others. The Forsythe Company, based in Dresden and Frankfurt am Main, enjoys a yearly residency at the Schiffbauhalle of the Schauspielhaus Zurich and also maintains an extensive international touring schedule.
Forsythe’s choreographic thinking has engaged with and contributed to the most significant international artistic currents of our time: from performance and visual arts to architecture and interactive multimedia. He has created architecture/performance installations commissioned by Daniel Libeskind in Germany, Artangel in London, Creative Time in New York, and the City of Paris. His short film, Solo, was presented at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. In 2006, a major exhibition of his performance, film and installation work was presented at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.
In 1994, Forsythe virtually reinvented the teaching of dance with his pioneering and award-winning computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical DanceEye, which is used by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programmes and secondary schools. As an educator, Forsythe is regularly invited to lecture and give workshops at major universities and cultural institutions internationally. He served as the first Mentor in Dance in the inaugural cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative and currently co-directs and teaches in the Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe (D.A.N.C.E.) programme. Forsythe has been awarded an honorary fellowship from the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York.
For more info on William Forsythe:
William Forsythe’s official website
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