In this video, dancers Amy Harris and Jarryd Madden, respectively Australian Ballet Principal Artist and Senior Artist, together with Ballet Mistress Elizabeth Toohey, demonstrate how choreographer William Forsythe pushes ballet beyond classical boundaries.

Recognised for his integration of ballet and the visual arts, as well as his work with the Ballet Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company dance ensemble, Forsythe is something of a multi-disciplinary artist, having participated in numerous installations, films and web-based knowledge creation, incorporating the spoken word and experimental music.

As we see in the video, while his training is grounded within the rules of classical ballet, he is much more interested in bending and eventually breaking these guidelines. Hence, his choreography may draw on traditional positions, but then develop them to the extreme.

Another anomaly is that, while many of his pieces are danced on pointe, Forsythe has had dancers perform in all kind of footwear, including work boots, socks and slippers, in order to explore different choreographic results.

As a choreographer, therefore, Forsythe’s style can be said to be both postmodern and deconstructivist, and the extreme positions of his ballets require a great deal of flexibility – posing a particular challenge, but also representing an especial achievement, for dancers to perform.

View the original video here.

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