In the course of a 35-year career based primarily in Germany, the American expatriate choreographer-designer, William Forsythe, forged profound, genre-bending advances in choreography for the classically trained dancer.
This summer, Forsthye comes states-side to receive very strong recognition and an honor when the American Dance Festival (ADF) will award him with the prestigious 2012 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in modern dance.
Forsythe’s extreme experimentation with the classical vernacular finds a sound parallel with the way George Balanchine contemporized the 19th century technique that he inherited. Forsythe’s distinct aesthetic sensibility, the way in which he melded contemporary music (frequent collaborator, the composer Thom Willens) and chic costume and set design (often his own lighting design), is in full flower in the hypertechnical Euro-ballet that now dominates the field.
He’s a biggie.
The award will be presented to Forsythe by former Forsythe Company dancer and collaborator, Jill Johnson, in a ceremony on Saturday, June 30, prior to the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The performance by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will include Mr. Forsythe’s 1993 work, Quintett.
Established in 1981 by Samuel H. Scripps and the ADF, the annual award includes a $50,000 prize, the largest monetary award given for lifetime achievement, and honors choreographers who have dedicated their lives and talent to the creation of modern dance.
“Mr. Forysthe has created a breadth of work that is both beautiful and challenging, but always completely original. We are thrilled to honor his extraordinary contributions to the dance world this summer at the ADF,” said ADF’s new director, Jodee Nimerichter.
Prior recipients of the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award include Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais, Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Erick Hawkins, Twyla Tharp, Anna Sokolow, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, Trisha Brown, Meredith Monk, Anna Halprin, Fayard and Harold Nicholas, Pina Bausch, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Garth Fagan, Maguy Marin, Eiko and Koma, Bill T. Jones, Murray Louis, Mark Morris, Laura Dean, Ohad Naharin, Martha Clarke, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and posthumously in honor of Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, José Limón, Pearl Primus, and Helen Tamiris.
Read more here.
Limb’s Theorem Ballet de la Opera de Leon choreography by William Forsythe photo by Pedro Arnay
Clouds After Cranach, which premired November 2005 in Frankfurt. Foreground: George Reischl and Dana Caspersen. Photo: Dominik Mentzos, courtesy of the photographer.
Slingerland, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, photo by Rosalie O’Connor
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