a dance with three steps

An exploration of the process of creating dance


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William Forsythe

When it comes to creating dance, a choreographer has to be able to multi task. A choreographer has to be able to visualize and create movement for the individual dancer. The steps and choreography are important  elements to a dance, but there is also the visual art aspect of dance. A choreographer has to consider what their use of space and imagery will evoke in the audience. One choreographer that is really genius when it comes to creating work is William Forsythe.

William Forsythe's One Flat Thing, reproduced

William Forsythe is an American born dancer and choreographer. He was a resident choreographer for the Ballet Frankfurt from 1984-2004, and in 2005 started The Forsythe Company. Forsythe’s choreography is very interesting for the dance world because of his love for math and geometry.

William Forsythe's One Flat Thing, reproduced

One of his most famous contemporary works is One Flat Thing, reproduced which premiered in 2000 by the Frankfurt Ballet. This piece has over 200 cues that the dancers have to abide by, as the piece is structured by the dancers taking cues off of each other. Forsythe’s mathematical thinking can be clearly seen through the use of tables that the dancers, at the start of the piece, run, drag and set up in a grid. They then proceed to dance on, around and under these tables.

One of the most amazing things about trying to understand this piece is a website called Synchronous Objects that explains the complicated nature of the piece by “translating and transforming them into new objects – ways of visualizing dance that draw on techniques from a variety of disciplines.” The project was created by scientists from Ohio State University’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and artists from the Department of Dance. This website and project is incredibly helpful for understanding and analyzing the complex interlocking systems of organization that Forsythe has created.

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