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Thom Willems and William Forsythe in Paris

(September 2016)

A William Forsythe triple bill at the Paris Opéra Ballet included two danceworks with music by Thom Willems, celebrating their ground-breaking balletic partnership.

July saw composer Thom Willems join with choreographer William Forsythe for a triple bill at the Paris Opéra Ballet including two of their dance collaborations. This was something of a homecoming for both artists to the company that has given over 300 performances of their ballets including the classic In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated commissioned and premiered there.

The Pas-de-deux Of Any If And, joining the Paris company’s repertoire for the first time, is danced to an electronic score by Willems which splits the high resonances from a piano sound, transposing them upwards to create harmonies which hint at Renaissance music, set alongside a spoken text. Approximate Sonata is thus titled because the dancers correct their steps, as if during rehearsal they have made an error or improper foot position.

"Of Any If And and Approximate Sonata, were created in the mid-1990s. They share a seriousness of purpose, a forensic intensity in their bid to engage with classical technique while deconstructing its usual framework. Both have scores by Thom Willems, but the choreography operates on its own wavelength, not unlike Merce Cunningham’s work with John Cage. There is a cold edge to their impossibly complex phrases…they challenge the dancers to new heights…"
Financial Times

Last month launched a 20 performance run of One flat thing, reproduced by the Dresden Frankfurt Ballet Company in both cities. Pas./Parts returns to San Francisco Ballet this month following its US premiere last season and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated joins the repertoire of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Approximate Sonata is danced by Royal Ballet of Flanders this autumn, English National Ballet presents In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated at Sadlers Wells next March, and the Compañia Nacional de Danza de España stages Enemy in the Figure in an all-Forsythe programme in April.


> Further information on Work: Of Any If And

Photo: Ann Ray/Opéra National de Paris

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