Artifact II

William Forsythe

Artifact II is the fourth Forsythe ballet that the Compañía Nacional de Danza has staged. Originally, the work lasts two hours and has four parts. Artifact II is one of those four fragments.

  • World premiere by: the Frankfurt Ballet, December 5th 1984
  • Premiere by CND: at Teatro Arriaga, Bilbao (Spain), December 10th 1998

Once again, the director of the Frankfurt Ballet wants to break with the ballet’s traditional aesthetic, undoing it and creating new visual proposals for the spectator. As long as the spectator is up for it, a work like Artifact can become an adventure, because it does not propose anything closed or finished.
The spectator must, and this is Forsythe’s intention, imagine his/her own music score. Forsythe thinks that reality exists only in the mind of the human being. It is a product of his/her fantasy, in the same way as art. An art that has become artificial through its formalisation.
What interests the author is to take the extremes. To explore the limits of the possibilities of the body, light, speech until he reaches their final frontiers. The dancers place themselves in the space as if they had to check how far their muscles and articulations can stretch. An extraordinary concept of spaciousness is pursued. Forsythe clearly states that he is not trying a redefinition of the classical language. What he proposes is the development of a new vocabulary.


  • Choreography:
    William Forsythe
  • Music:
    Johann Sebastian Bach. "Partita Nº 2" BWV1004 in Re minor "Chacona" performed by Nathan Milstein
  • Staging:
    Hilde Koch, Carlos Iturrioz, Noah Gelber
  • Set. Costume and LigthingDesign:
    William Forsythe
  • Costumes made by:
    CND wardrobe
  • Running time:
    13' 53"
  • Premiere cast CND:
    Emmanuelle Broncin, Demond Hart, Catherine Habasque, Patrick de Bana, Lesley Telford