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Born and raised in New York City, William Forsythe danced with the Joffrey and Stuttgart ballets before becoming Resident Choreographer with the latter in 1976, then spent twenty years as the director of the Ballet Frankfurt until it closed in 2004. He then established The Forsythe Company which he directed until 2015, at which point he joined the faculty of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at USC. A recipient of many awards and commissions, Forsythe has been hailed as a major proponent for the integration of ballet and visual arts, and his concept of choreography as organizational practice has resulted in the creation of myriad works for performances, installations, and films.
Originally made for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1999, the ballet was 75 percent rechoreographed for San Francisco. Sunday it seemed dense in detail, yet airy in effect, classical in its language, pointe work and épaulement, yet resolutely contemporary in its sensibility and exploratory in the Forsythe manner. The work is structured in 21 sections. Forsythe has juxtaposed solos with small ensembles, reserving the entire complement, briefly, for the fourth episode and for the finale. The scenic apparatus, although attractive, keeps us focused on the dancing. The dancers’ world is Forsythe’s off-white, three-sided environment, evocatively lit, and it spins on its axis for 37 minutes.
Utilising the soaring final movement from Franz Schubert’s 9th Symphony in C Major, William Forsythe complements the music’s layered intricacies and thunderous bravura with sophisticated complexity and dynamic momentum. [...] As the piece delves relentlessly through a series of riveting solos, duets, trios and group constellations, the audience is offered timeless images well in keeping with traditional interactions between ballerinas and their male counterparts, while individual eccentricities and indulgences are maintained (if not encouraged). [...] It received New York City’s “Best Ballet of the Season” critics’ choice award in 1998 and appears in the repertoires of some of the most world-renowned ballet companies. Insider circles have referred to it as “the most technically difficult ballet ever performed.” Others have found it “the most liberating experience of an entire career.”