CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:39 am ]

One Flat Thing, reproduced; photo by Dieter Schwer

The Room As It Was, N.N.N.N, Of Any If And and One Flat Thing, Reproduced

Tue 20 - Sat 24 September, 7.30pm
Sadler’s Wells: 0870 737 7737
Tickets £5 - £36

Jerwood Proms: Stand Up For Dance for only £5 on Sat 24 September

Meet the Artist: Sat 24, 5.30pm with William Forsythe. Free to ticket holders (advanced booking advisable)

William Forsythe, former Artistic Director of Ballett Frankfurt, is renowned for his radical imagination which combines choreographic invention with a distinct theatrical vision. This is the first, eagerly anticipated, visit to the UK by his newly-founded ensemble, The Forsythe Company.

Forsythe and his company of 18 dancers present four works from the recent repertoire, ranging from the ferocious to the sublime. They begin with the playful, rhythmical web of duets and trios that is The Room As It Was, followed by the constant, tacit, quicksilver connection of four men in N.N.N.N. The evening continues with the stunning clarity and breathtaking beauty of the duet Of Any If And and concludes with the detailed ferocity of
One Flat Thing, reproduced, which sees a pack of bodies whip razor-like across the stage, through a maze of tables.

‘This is no longer ballet: it is uniquely Forsythe.’ The Financial Times

Author:  AnaM [ Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:08 am ]
Post subject:  Pre-Review

Though full review will follow shortly, just a few comments on the performance given by Forsythe's Company yesterday at Sadler's Wells.

The Programme consisted of four different pieces that illustrated Forsythe's interests and aesthetics of late. Gone is the "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" mood that characterised his work in the nineties and instead, Forsyhte has moved into more contemporary territory, though still making use of ballet forms from time to time.

The works showed new welcome territories in Forsythe's interestes, especially humour in N.N.N.N., a piece for four men that provided one of the highlights of the evening.

Of Any If And was, like the opening piece, The Room as it was, a more self reflective piece, full of conceptual ideas that seemed at times too self indulgent in their vocabulary restrictions.

The piece that closed the programme was One Flat Thing Reproduced and it was a loud and energetic closing piece, full of energy and interesting choreographic ideas.

Author:  salzberg [ Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:30 am ]
Post subject: 

Ana, I'm eager to read your review.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Sep 22, 2005 2:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Forsythe Company
by JUITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

It is, though, possible to see some kind of philosophy linking the four works in the programme, which is essentially heading towards small scale and the minimally staged.

In the case of the first two, minimal may even be an overstatement.

published: September 21, 2005

Author:  Audience comments 21/9 [ Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:08 am ]
Post subject: 

Laura Jones: I particularly enjoyed "One Flat Thing, reproduced" - so much going on and the dancers are amazing. Stunning! "NNNN" was good to. I didn't expect to like it, but found myself becoming engrossed. Great fun as well.

Yuki: Very interesting, especially the last one ("One Flat thing...").

Oz: I enjoyed it more than I expected, as classical ballet is my main interest. I am used to seeing Forsythe's ballet pieces, but these are very different. Call me a traditionalist, but in the first two pieces, I did want music; I preferred the second work with the men ("NNNN"). I really enjoyed the third work ("Of Any if And") - very beautiful.

Anon: Dana Casperson in "Of Any if And" was the highlight for me. She is such an exceptional dancer; I can remember hardly being able to speak in the interval, during her performance in "Kammer, Kammer", when Ballett Frankfurt was last here.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:40 am ]
Post subject: 

Forsythe Company
By Donald Hutera for The Times

Although this year’s Dance Umbrella is top-heavy with French artists, the American expatriate choreographer William Forsythe has launched the festival’s 27th edition with pieces that both push the art form and intermittently test a viewer’s patience.
Forsythe is based in Germany, where for a quarter-century he carved out an envelope-pushing reputation as the artistic director of the now- defunct Ballett Frankfurt. He returns to Umbrella at the helm of his own 18-strong troupe.

click for more

Author:  DU press [ Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:41 am ]
Post subject: 

The turning point
by SARAH CROMPTON for the Daily Telegraph

Yet there were times during the new group's first British outing when I understood how the Frankfurt burghers felt when they asked for more Swan Lakes. In fairness, all the works on display in this programme are old, but their pared-down nature perhaps gives some indication of where Forsythe is heading.

published: September 22, 2005

Author:  DU press [ Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:58 am ]
Post subject: 

A new dynamic
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

At the time, Forsythe's concern was more for the dancers than for himself, since along with the protest mail came a flurry of invitations courting both him and his ballets. One of them even arrived from the Kirov's director, Makhar Vaziev. "God bless him, he said, 'You come and be choreographer in my company and I will give you a car and a bodyguard.' I had to say no. I really didn't want to go anywhere I needed a bodyguard."

published: September 22, 2005

Author:  DU press [ Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Organised chaos
William Forsythe’s new company is in riotous mood at Sadler’s Wells, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times

William Forsythe’s 20-year reign of radical renown as the director of Ballett Frankfurt ended last year with the company’s closure, but with scarcely a breathing space, the choreographer started his own new troupe, the Forsythe Company, this January. It made its UK debut at Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday.
All but one of the 18 dancers were with the previous company, and all four of this programme’s pieces were made for the Frankfurt repertory, though they had not been seen here before.

click for more


The Forsythe saga
William Forsythe loses one company, launches a new one - then shows old work. By Jann Parry for The Observer

When William Forsythe's new company was announced as the headline event of this year's Dance Umbrella festival, his choice of programme was expected to be a manifesto of where he was going next. Ballett Frankfurt, which he had directed for 20 years, was disbanded last year as a consequence of municipal cost-cutting. After a bitter battle with Frankfurt's mayor, Forsythe set up his own group of 18 dancers, funded by a package of supporters in Germany and Switzerland.

click for more

Author:  AnaM [ Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:51 am ]
Post subject: 

On Tuesday 20th September The Forsythe Company started their season of performances at Sadler’s Wells. They brought four pieces, “The Room as it Was” (2002), “N.N.N.N.” (2002), “Of Any if And” (1995) and “One Flat Thing, reproduced” (2000). The programme did not include any new creations, but works that had been created in previous years for Forsythe’s former company The Frankfurt Ballet.

Not being a Forsythe fan, I had not seen the company for a long span of time, since the days of “Steptext” and “In the Middle Somewhat Elevated”. After seeing the performance at Sadler’s Wells, it was clear that Forsythe has obviously moved onto different territory during these years.

“The Room as it Was” opened the programme and it was a piece that dwelt on movement experiments on use of dynamics and on explorations of movement of limbs and their different possibilities. It seemed as if Forsythe was taking Laban theories with regards to dynamics and planes of movement to the extreme. However, after the first five minutes, the novelty wore off. Once the choreographer presented his experiments to the viewer, there was a sense of expectancy for something to develop from them that did not happen.

The dancers used their own breathing as background noise, which is something interesting, but it seemed puzzling, as the programme clearly stated that there was music by Thom Willems. Then, suddenly, music started, two dancers appeared in the background and the stage brightened up… at the same time as the curtain came down. As a joke, it could be brilliant, but I did not feel it was meant as such. It reminded me of a wonderful sketch by the Argentinean comedians “Les Luthiers”, when after explaining “The Second Waltz” for ten minutes in the most hilarious manner, we were treated to a four note cadence. However, the twenty minutes that preceded the final moments of “The Room as it Was” were not really that amusing. The movement was too concentric and self-reflecting. There was no outward dynamics and this effect can alienate the viewer, as the group formations tend to move within a limited stage area and then walk off the stage. It is an interesting effect the first time round, but after endless series, it can become tiresome. Another effect Forsythe keeps using is that of frantic sequences of movement from different dancers at different moments; something that Tharp explored thirty years ago. But whereas Tharp engaged the audience in these moments of total madness from the part of the dancers and she even made the dancers themselves react to these frantic dynamics, both in terms of space and by the shading with other dynamics to follow, in the case of Forsythe, these sequences seem to find no response, beginning or end.

“N.N.N.N.” was a more enjoyable piece. Four men explore movement and spatial positioning by relating to each other in unexpected ways. The movement vocabulary was again the same one explored in the previous piece, but the introduction of humour in it made it much more enjoyable. Though the piece was five minutes too long, the overall effect was one of amusement and it is something that I for one appreciated in Forsythe’s work, as this tends to be too serious at times.

“Of Any if And” was a total contrast to its preceding piece. The work reminded me somehow of “The Vile Parody of Address”. Two people whispering unintelligible words at both sides of the stage and two dancers appearing and disappearing, dancing an interrupted duet to the music of Thom Willems. There were panels coming down from the upper part of the stage with sequences of words that did not make much sense and that were terribly distracting in the viewer’s attempt at trying to find if there was some sort of hidden meaning in their use. The work seemed too conceptual and, as the movement vocabulary was a repetition of things that had already been seen before, I found the work was part of the Forsythe repertoire I cannot care too much about. However, most people rated this piece as the best of the evening and that may explain why I am not a great fan of Forsythe. I simply find these kind of works too self indulgent in their conceptual meanings –whatever these may be-. Choreographically there is nothing new and the evolutions of the dancers on the stage seem too alienated and lacking in any sort of engagement with each other or the audience. These Forsythe works seem too detached from any reality; they exist in their own realm, which seems to be based on experiments rather than theatricality and thus, for me, they tend to leave behind some sort of emptiness in their own self reflection.

Finally, “One Flat Thing, reproduced” provided with an exciting close for the programme. The piece was highly energetic and there was very interesting choreography throughout and even a sense of ensemble and pattern that had appeared lacking in all the other pieces.

Author:  MaggieF [ Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:06 am ]
Post subject: 

I went to Forsythe on Saturday, 24th September and loved it - and I was standing. The combination of the 4 men piece ["NNNN"] and that beautiful duo in the middle ["Of Any If And"] was bliss. But I found the table piece exciting ["One Flat Thing, Reproduced"] and liked the opener as well ["The Room As It Was"].

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:38 am ]
Post subject: 

with apologies to the 60's song, "Alfie", John Percival seems to be asking: "What's it all about, William?"

The Room As It Was/NNNN/Of Any If And/One Flat Thing, Reproduced
By John Percival for The Stage

Judging by this programme new to Britain, William Forsythe has dropped his one-time search for a new post-Balanchine classicism in favour of a much harsher modernism. It is performed by the Forsythe Company, newly founded this year as a private venture based in Frankfurt and Dresden.

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