Five reasons to look forward to ... Forsythe

21 April 2023

1. An ode to William Forsythe

With Forsythe, Dutch National Ballet presents its first ever programme of three works by American choreographer William Forsythe: Blake Works I, Pas/Parts 2018 and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. The programme is a tribute to William Forsythe and his internationally celebrated masterpieces of choreography. He is regarded as one of the most radical and influential innovators in contemporary choreography and dance of the past 50 years. In his ballets, he sheds new light on the academic heritage of ballet by deconstructing and reconstructing its vocabulary in his own inimitable way.

2. The Dutch premiere of Blake Works I

In Forsythe it will be the first time that Forsythe’s Blake Works I will be performed in the Netherlands. The piece is Forsythe’s eighth ground-breaking ballet choreography to be added to Dutch National Ballet’s repertoire. Blake Works I had its world premiere at Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris in 2016, where it was met with rave reviews. It was the first ballet in which Forsythe, after 17 years of choreographic experimentation, returned to classical ballet technique.

3. Forsythe’s vast classical vocabulary

Besides Blake Works I, the special Forsythe programme will also feature performances by Dutch National Ballet of The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (1996) and Pas/Parts 2018, a 2018 adaptation of the ballet Forsythe created for Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris in 1999. All three masterpieces showcase an entirely different side of Forsythe’s identity as a choreographer, illustrating the endless possibilities and multi-faceted richness of classical ballet technique.

4. A diverse spectrum of musical scores

The scores to which the choreographies are set are as diverse as the three ballets of the Forsythe programme. Blake Works I is a ballet set to seven poetic songs from the album The Colour in Anything by British singer-songwriter James Blake. In Pas/Parts 2018 and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Forsythe hits altogether different notes. For Pas/Parts 2018, he collaborated with Dutch composer Thom Willems, who has composed the scores of more than 60 of Forsythe’s ballets since 1985. And The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude is set to Franz Schubert’s Ninth Symphony.

5. Live accompaniment by Dutch National Ballet Orchestra

Schubert’s Ninth Symphony will be performed live by Dutch National Ballet Orchestra, under the baton of chief conductor Matthew Rowe.


Forsythe is performed from 10 until 27 juni in Dutch National Opera & Ballet.