William Forsythe: A Quiet Evening of Dance, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, 2018. Photo: Johan Persson. Courtesy Sadler’s Wells.
Renowned choreographer William Forsythe brings a new kind of dance work to The Shed, October 11 – 25, 2019, that, like an evening of chamber music, is designed to be listened to. Staged in the 500-seat Griffin Theater, A Quiet Evening of Dance is an intimate experience for audiences in which choreography is stripped down to its essence, with works ranging from sparse analytic distillation to baroque-inspired counterpoint. The program includes two new pieces, Epilogue and Seventeen/Twenty One (an excerpt of which, titled Prologue, begins the program); and two reimagined repertory works, Dialogue (DUO2015) and Catalogue (Second Edition).
For its North American premiere, the commission will be performed by seven of Forsythe’s most trusted collaborators—all former dancers with the Forsythe Company/Ballet Frankfurt: Brigel Gjoka, Jill Johnson, Christopher Roman, Parvaneh Scharafai, Riley Watts, and Ander Zabala. They are joined by Rauf ‘Rubberlegz’ Yasit, who has developed a unique form of movement taken from b-boying, a style of breakdancing he has traveled the world to perform.
The intricate phrasing of the dancers’ breath is the primary accompaniment for a distillation of the geometric origins of classical ballet. In Act 1, the duets Prologue and Dialogue are performed to field recordings of birdsong, and the duet Catalogue is performed in silence. Epilogue, a series of solos and duets, is performed to composer Morton Feldman’s Nature Pieces from Piano No.1 from First Recordings (1950s). Seventeen/Twenty One comprises Act 2, performed to composer Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Six Concerts en sextuor, Une symphonie imaginaire, and Abaris ou les Boreades (Suite and Dances).
A Quiet Evening of Dance premiered in London in 2018 as a Sadler’s Wells London Production co-commissioned by The Shed; Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, and Festival d’Automne à Paris; Festival Montpellier Danse 2019; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg; Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens; and deSingel international arts campus (Antwerp). The new commission won the FEDORA – VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Prize for Ballet the same year.
Forsythe was an early collaborator of The Shed when, in 2018, he created Pas de Deux Cent Douze for A Prelude to The Shed. The radical reimagining of the central duet from his seminal 1987 ballet In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated was performed on an outdoor stage by dancers Josh Johnson and Roderick George to music by Azealia Banks and Abra.
Performances of William Forsythe: A Quiet Evening of Dance at The Shed are October 11 – 25, Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm (there are no performances on October 14, 17, and 21). Tickets are available at theshed.org.
M&T Bank is The Founding Bank of The Shed and is the exclusive financial services supporter for live performance commissions as part of a multiyear partnership.