Artifact Suite

Pennsylvania Ballet

2012
$150,000

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Pennsylvania Ballet performing William Forsythe's Artifact Suite. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

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Pennsylvania Ballet performing William Forsythe's Artifact Suite. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

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Pennsylvania Ballet performing William Forsythe's Artifact Suite. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

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Pennsylvania Ballet performing William Forsythe's Artifact Suite. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Pennsylvania Ballet acquired and presented Artifact Suite, its third work in three years by William Forsythe, a choreographer noted for propelling ballet from a strictly classical dance form to a dynamic, 21st-century art. Featuring 29 dancers in a 45-minute ballet, Forsythe's signature choreography in Artifact Suite pushes dancers beyond their perceived physical limits, demanding sharp timing, precise syncopation, and coordination. Forsythe keeps the work fresh by making changes to the choreography every time a new company performs it. "There is always something to improve, some craftsmanship to carry out, and new solutions to discover," he says.

Three of the choreographer's former dancers—Jodie Gates, Noah Gelber, and Laura Graham—staged Artifact Suite over four weeks of rehearsal. Forsythe visited Philadelphia to work with the dancers in advance of the final performances in June 2013. A public symposium was held, prior to the performances, moderated by Linda Caruso Haviland, director of dance at Bryn Mawr College, and featured Forsythe; Freya Vass-Rhee, dramaturge of the Forsythe Company; and Jennifer Homans, author of Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet.