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William Forsythe PortraitWilliam Forsythe was born in New York where he received his classical ballet training. He danced with the Stuttgarter Ballet. He has been artistic director of the Frankfurt Ballet since 1984 and Intendant of the Ballet Frankfurt since 1989. His ballets form part of the repertory of prestigious companies all over the world. These include the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Het Nationale Ballet and the Compañía Nacional de Danza.

Enemy In the Figure. William Forsythe 2001


Enemy in the Figure. A dancer with her shadow in the stage
  • Choreography: William Forsythe
  • Music: Thom Willems
  • Scenography: William Forsythe
  • Costumes: William Forsythe
  • Light Design: William Forsythe
  • World premiered by Frankfurt Ballet in Frankfurt, May 13th, 1989. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro Real in Madrid, May 18th, 2001.

In Enemy in the Figure eleven dancers perform as if observed under a microscope. Edgy and detached, they move in and out of the shadows cast by a huge spot light, their bodies in counter point to an environment saturated in technology.

Making use of an undulating screen positioned diagonally across the stage, a rope that is pulsed across the floor as if indicating energy levels or secret messages, a floodlight on wheels that is manipulated by the dancers, and a ticking, brooding score by Thom Willems, Enemy in the Figure is a dark and thrilling poem about vision and perception, form and chaos. Light - as integral here to the choreography as the steps - filters across the stage in uneven and transient shafts, exploding and contracting the space, bathing the dancers in a concentrated glare or obscuring them with deepening shadows that intensify the ephemeral beauty of the movement. Donning garments of layered fringes over their black or White Darkness leotards, the dancers burst out of and disappear into the White Darkness like eruptions from the unconscious, their bodies appearing as polyphonous instruments that can generate movement from any point. Ballet-trained limbs mutate into angled, disjointed shapes, inscribing convulsive geometries as they spin against their kinetic shadows, or generate endless chains of movement on a suddenly empty stage, the light bleached and even, the music a low, rhythmic, repetitive melody. In a universe alternately frenetic and calm, Enemy in the Figurepresents a non-narrative of mystery and urgency, isolation and connection, the mechanical and the human: dance as a medium for infinite possibilities.

Herman Schmerman. William Forsythe 1992


Herman Schmerman. One Dancer
  • Choreography: William Forsythe
  • Music: Just Ducky (1992) by Thom Willems
  • Settings and Light Design: William Forsythe
  • Costumes: William Forsythe and Gianni Versace
  • Staging: Kathryn Bennetts
  • World Premiered by New York City Ballet, Diamond Project, New York State Theater on May 28th, 1992. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, November 8th, 1996.

In conversation about Herman Schmerman, Mr. Forsythe has said, "I first heard that phrase ("Herman Schmerman") used by Steve Martin in the film Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. I think it's a lovely title that means nothing. The ballet means nothing, either. It's a piece about dancing that will be a lot of fun. It's just five talented dancers dancing around--and that's good, isn't it?" This ballet is Mr. Forsythe´s third work in the repertoire of Compañía Nacional de Danza and the second with music by composer Thom Willems.

Thom Willems was born in Arnhem, Netherlands, and studied electronic and instrumental composition at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague. Mr. Willems has composed works for European television, radio, and movies. Mr. Willems' work has been performed by The Frankfurt Ballet, L'Opéra de Paris, the San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Nederlands Dans Theatre.

In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated. William Forsythe 1987


In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. Dancer Partners
  • Choreography: William Forsythe
  • Music: Thom Willems
  • Set decoration, costumes and light design: William Forsythe
  • Staging: Glenn Tuggle
  • World premiered by the Ballet de L’Opéra de Paris at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris, on May 29th, 1987. Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela of Madrid, September 11th, 1992.

The strength of a work is based on its simplicity. In the Middle, lacking in any external effects, is concentrated in the traditional formula theme and variations. The main theme, danced by the ballerina, increases progressively in relation with the number of dancers, until the result of the groupbecomes much more complex variations and pas de deux. The pretended disdain of the dancers contrasts with the strict and severe technical demands. The title of the ballet refers to two golden cherries, which hang above from the centre of the stage, and which lead to a minimal reflexion within the huge interior of l’Opéra de Paris, the space in which this ballet was created.

Thom Willems was born in 1955 in the Netherlands. He studied electronic and instrumental composition at the Koninklijke Conservatorium of music in Den Haag. upto now his work as a composer has been mainly focused on electronic music for the stage. He is a very frequent collaborator with William Forsythe and together they have created more than 25 ballets.

Thom Willems has composed music for other choreographers, including Daniel Ezralow, Daniel Larrieu, Marcia Haydee and Kristina de Chatel. He has also created music for films and TV. His work forms part of the repertory of Frankfurt Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet de L’Opéra de Paris, New York City Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company, National Ballet of Canada, and many others.

Quintett. William Forsythe 1993


  • Quintett. Dancers: Soojee Watman and Clyde Archer(Next translation)
  • Coreografía: William Forsythe en colaboración con Dana Caspersen, Stephen Galloway, Jacopo Godani, Thomas McManus y Jone San Martín
  • Escenografía e Iluminación: William Forsythe
  • Música: Gavin Bryars (Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet)
  • Figurines: Stephen Galloway
  • Estreno por el Ballet de Frankfurt en Alemania el 9 de noviembre de 1993.
  • Estreno por la Compañía Nacional de Danza en el Teatro de la Zarzuela, el 21 de marzo de 2008.

En Quintet, dos mujeres y tres hombres se encuentran en un espacio desnudo iluminado por un extraño proyector. Los bailarines se concentran completamente en su búsqueda de posibilidades infinitas de expresión del cuerpo humano. Realizan con precisión académicos tours de force y se pierden en infinitas improvisaciones e intrincados movimientos. El resultado es un huracán de baile aparentemente caótico que, sin embargo, tiene una lógica curiosa que no se debe ignorar. Todo ello enmarcado por una repetición infinita de la letra “la sangre de Jesús nunca me falló aún”, una canción de Gavin Bryars, que actúa como si de un mantra se tratara.

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