Dutch National Ballet presents ‘Forsythe Festival’

Dutch National Ballet’s Forsythe Festival presents for the first time a programme of three masterpieces by William Forsythe.

If there is one choreographer who has influenced and steered the development of contemporary dance, it has to be William Forsythe. He completely overturned the traditional logic and dynamic of ballet.

Dutch National Ballet presents its first complete programme of three of his masterpieces: The Vertiginous Thrill of ExactitudePas/Parts 2018 and the Dutch premiere of the internationally acclaimed Blake Works I.


Blake Works l was the first work in which Forsythe – after seventeen years of choreographic experimentation – returned to classical ballet technique. This proved to be the foundation of his success in the eighties and nineties. At the world premiere in Paris, in 2016, the audience went wild. In technically challenging, yet swinging solos, duets and group formations, the piece portrays seven poetic songs from James Blake’s album The Colour in Anything.


In 1999, right before diving into his experimental phase, Forsythe created another masterpiece for the Paris Opéra Ballet: Pas/Partswhich Dutch National Ballet is now presenting in an adapted version from 2018. The piece is a prime example of how dance innovator Forsythe took classical ballet steps and transformed, cut and regrouped them to form contemporary abstract art. Like a dizzying avalanche, ingenious solos, duets, trios and group sections follow one another at amazing speed.


The third work, as suggested by its title The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitudeis a tribute to the precision and speed of classical ballet, while simultaneously being a parody of it as well. To Schubert’s Symphony no. 9, the dancers perform a whirlwind of pirouettes and tricky allegro work, but they do it at such speed that the original steps are barely visible any more.

Forsythe Festival premieres on 10 June and runs to 27 June 2023 at Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

For tickets and more information visit: operaballet.nl.