Artifact Suite

William Forsythe

Artifact Suite, a condensed, pure-dance version of William Forsythe’s full-length ballet, “Artifact” was first presented on 15 September 2004 by the Scottish Ballet. Taken from three sections—parts 1, 2 and 3—of the original 1984 ballet, the work has subsequently taken on a life of its own as an abstract work that distills the protocols and principles of classical ballet into a mesmerizing theatrical event.

  • World premiere by: Scottish National Ballet at the Royal Theater Glasgow (UK), September 15th 2004
  • Premiere by CND: at Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Santander (Spain), April 22nd 2017

It opens with a glorious double pas de deux, framed by 30 corps de ballet dancers, set to the Chaconne from Bach’s “Partita No. 2 for solo violin in D minor.” Surging unexpectedly from the symmetrical sleek-bodied rows of dancers lining the sides and back of the stage, two couples perform simultaneous dances of breathtaking beauty, full of off-balance extensions and unexpected shifts of weight. These dramatic pas de deux gloriously elaborate and extend ballet’s formal positions and planes; but these traditions—and our expectations—are abruptly subverted as the curtain crashes down heavily in mid-sequence, only to rise again upon a renewed vision of loveliness.
The second section of “Artifact Suite” is set to a piano score by Eva Crossman-Hecht, and its repetitive, urgent lines of sound underscore the image of the corps de ballet as a complex, almost martial machine, with ballet as its precision tool. It offers a demonstration of spectacle and tradition—the visual power of a uniform ensemble, principal dancers, powerfully moving music, a proscenium frame— even as it questions and changes their usage, and our ideas of what ballet can be.
(Roslyn Sulcas)


  • Choreography:
    William Forsythe
  • Music:
    Part I: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Chacona de la Partita nº 2 in do minor, BWV 1004, performed by Nathan Milstein (14 minutes); Collecting Society. Part II: Eva Crossman-Hecht, performed by Margot Kazimirska
  • Set Design, Costume and Lighting Design:
    William Forsythe
  • Staging:
    Agnes Noltenius, Maurice Causey
  • Length:
    45 minutes
  • Premiere cast CND:
    Ion Agirretxe, Mar Aguiló, Aída Badia, Helena Balla, Niccolò Balossini, Lucie Barthèlèmy, Esteban Berlanga, Elisabet Biosca, Juan José Carazo, Cristina Casa, Rebecca Connor, Kayoko Everhart, Yanier Gomez, Laura Perez Hierro, Erez Ilan, Jesse Inglis, Agnes Lopez, Sara Fernández López, Sara Lores, Álvaro Madrigal, Toby William Mallitt, Aleix Mañé, Clara Maroto, Angel García Molinero, Marcos Montes, Isaac Montllor, Natalia Muñoz, Maria Muñoz, Ana Perez Nievas, Haruhi Otani, Yae Gee Park, Giulia Paris, Shani Peretz, Anthony Pina, Benjamin Poirier, Alessandro Riga, Giada Rossi, Iván Sánchez, Roberto Sánchez, Rodrigo Sanz