As Anticipated: Boston Ballet’s Forsythe Extravaganza

As anticipated, I made my way to the Opera House. As anticipated, I saw Boston Ballet dancers put their hearts and souls on the stage to perform works by one of the ballet world’s most loved choreographers: William Forsythe. Boston Ballet’s all Forsythe Program, As Anticipated was captivating and beautiful with a few phrases that lost me. Despite those extraneous parts, the unique partnering and contemporary approach to ballet movement made the show impactful and memorable, with many “did I just stop breathing?” moments. I was invited to this performance for review. As always all opinions are my own.

Tyson Ali Clark in William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet

As you probably know by now, I always encourage folks both new to the ballet and familiar with the classics to step out from the old standbys and see one of Boston Ballet’s contemporary ballet programs. There is something about Forsythe in particular that takes you on a journey to lose yourself. With Forsythe’s work you get sucked into the movement, the artistry of the dancers envelopes you in a different way, and your brain gets a break from the every day even if you find yourself asking “What is this supposed to mean?”

Boston Ballet in William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet

Defilé reminded me of a walk down a quiet NYC street parallel to a busy street. Maybe you’re walking down Park Ave and all the hustle and bustle is on Madison Ave. At every intersection you look down and see the parade of people on Madison and then, as you walk, your view is blocked by all the buildings. At the next intersection you see the parade of people again another moving snapshot in time (maybe its a reel). Another image that came to mind was looking through an old school Viewfinder toy. The curtain dropped periodically within the piece leaving you in the dark until the next snippet of the piece was revealed. It changed the way I experienced dance. Those quiet/blank moments left the audience to their own devices playing with our minds and in a way including out experience in the choreography.

Boston Ballet in William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet

I think my favourite part was Part II: Chaconne in D Minor I am so familiar with the violin piece and that piercing soul-filling sound filled every millimeter of the opera house as the movement filled the stage. While part Ii had some of the small quirky movements, they worked here. It was the smaller movements in Part I : Défilé that seemed too lackluster for the music and energy that lost me. I wanted them edited out, but perhaps they had a purpose that I missed. I saw them as a distraction and as frivolous moments that took away from the richness of what would otherwise be a masterpiece.

The Boston Ballet company and dancers are at the highest peak they have been in a long time. This group of dancers is a special group and the company has found its sweet spot. While I usually point out some of the star principals, for this piece I want to highlight two dancers in particular.

Addie Tapp and Tyson Ali Clark in William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Bosto

Tyson Clark is liquid gold. Clark’s movement is so fast and smooth that you can’t help but notice. There is something other-wordly in Clark’s dancing that seems to defy the laws of physics. The one tiny detail that would make Clark’s performance sheer perfection is if he would lower his shoulders more to elongate his form, but otherwise his movement if stunning and I can’t wait to see Clark continue to take center stage. The possibilities are limitless with dancing like that.

Another dancer whose movement and musicality draws you to her is Michaela DePrince. DePrince has your attention because of how she fills every last millisecond of the music with her movement. It is that attention to details in the piece, choreography and dancing that captured my attention whenever she was on stage. I can’t wait to see more of DePrince’s dancing with Boston Ballet.

As Anticipated has four remaining performances.

  • Thursday, Nov 10 at 7:30 pm,
  • Friday, Nov 11 at 7:30
  • Saturday, Nov 12 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, Nov 13 at 1:30 pm

Tickets start at $39. For more information, visit Boston Ballet here or call 617.695.6955

Use code BBFRIENDS to get a $40 ticket for all regular season programs (savings of up to $78 off a regular ticket price!)

DETAILS: Offer valid on all performances of As Anticipated and Our Journey. Valid on select dates of Don Quixote and The Sleeping Beauty. Not valid on The Nutcracker. Tickets available for purchase at bostonballet.org.

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