Hot Pink in a Sea of Grey: Full on Forsythe

The news is full of fighting and darkness. The weather outside has been cold and grey. Even the world of dance, especially contemporary dance is overflowing with angst, anger, sadness and hopelessness. It can really drag you down. Boston Ballet’s collaboration with William Forsythe for Full on Forsythe is a three part cure to all of that. I was provided tickets for review of Full on Forsythe. As always all opinions are my own.

Boston Ballet in William Forsythe’s Playlist (EP); photo by Angela Sterling; courtesy of Boston Ballet

Part one of the cure is Pas/Parts 2018 which was originally performed by the Ballet de L’Opéra de Paris in 1999 and then by Boston Ballet in 2018. Pas/Parts to me is like a walk to the beach at dawn. It is a quiet awakening. You notice the tiniest wind against a blade of grass and feel the cold of morning slowly lift as the sun come out. The movement of the dancers is crisp and soft at the same time. This time, I didn’t mind the music. The squeaky harmonics evoked nature at some points and the mechanical rhythmic nature of our every day lives in cities. This is also an introduction to the language of Forsythe. William Forsythe doesn’t just have a few stylized moves or a certain “vibe” he speaks a whole new language of dance.

Lia Cirio in William Forsythe’s Blake Works I; photo by Angela Sterling; courtesy of Boston Ballet

Part two of the cure for this cold grey world we are immersed in in is Blake Works 1. This Forsythe work was originally performed by the Ballet de L’Opéra de Paris in 2016. This piece felt celebratory and spiritual to me. In Forsythe’s choreography the dancers are working at least twice as hard to work with the music and slightly odd phrasing. Dancing off center but on balance is extremely difficult and the pace of the choreography barely allows for a deep breathe in between movements. Despite all that, the dancers were smiling a deep down to the core kind of smile that is only evoked not because the choreographer and ballet master demand it for performance quality, but because the dance itself creates joy. There was a lightness in the audience that built up throughout the evening and erupted in yelps and cheers as the curtain fell at the end of the performance.

María Álvarez in William Forsythe’s Blake Works I; photo by Angela Sterling; courtesy of Boston Ballet

Part three is a late 1980’s /1990’s dance party. It is bright and to an electonic beat. A little jazzercise meets dancing at the club. The company is a team with the jerseys and all for the men. There is a youthful carefreeness that doesn’t exist any more in our every day life. Something about that earlier time before we had access to so much information so easily we had a little extra time for blissful ignorance. Playlist was a piece that made you want to get up and dance.

Derek Dunn in William Forsythe’s Blake Works I; photo by Angela Sterling; courtesy of Boston Ballet

All performances of Full on Forsythe will take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111).

Thursday, Mar 14 at 7:30 pm 
Friday, Mar 15 at 7:30 pm 
Saturday, Mar 16 at 7:30 pm 
Sunday, Mar 17 at 1:30 pm 

  *Indicates post-show talk 

Tickets start at $37. For more information, visit Boston Ballet.

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