Boston Ballet Announces 5-Year Partnership with William Forsythe

Kathleen Breen Combes and Bo Busby in Forsythe's Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

If you ask most dancers whose work they hope to perform, William Forsythe is usually at the top of the list. (How many of us have drooled over videos of In the middle, somewhat elevated?) He’s also, simply put, a nice guy: When Pointe went behind the scenes with him at Pacific Northwest Ballet last year, he radiated positive energy throughout the rehearsal process.

Well, we’re about to see a whole lot more of Forsythe now. Last week, Boston Ballet announced that it is entering a five-year partnership with the internationally renowned choreographer, who is also a dance professor at the University of Southern California. Starting with his full-length Artifact next season, the company will add one Forsythe work to its repertoire each year, creating the richest collection of his ballets nationwide.

The news comes shortly after Forsythe confirmed that he is leaving his post as associate choreographer of the Paris Opéra Ballet—an announcement made on the heels of Benjamin Millepied’s resignation as artistic director. But according to The New York Times, Forsythe's partnership with Boston has been several years in the making and is totally unrelated.

In the article, Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen says he hopes to acquire ballets that are unfamiliar to North American audiences. As for new ballets? Forsythe alludes to the possibility in the company’s statement: “Mikko’s support of the work means that the dancers and I can deepen our wonderful relationship and I will have a new home for new ideas.”

In the meantime, Boston Ballet dancers are getting better acquainted with his extreme, improvisational style through workshops with Harvard dance professor and former Forsythe dancer Jill Johnson. We can’t wait to see the results!

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