Any work of art begins as a blank space. A white canvas, an empty page, sheet music only defined by its lines; all of these things are waiting for an artist to create and change them into something with a purpose. For the choreographer, I would imagine the ground zero for creativity is an empty stage.
In the Boston Ballet’s latest performance, “Full On Forsythe“, I (and my 7-year-old son Vincent) had the joy of attending the March 7th opening night of three separate ballets by the world-renowned choreographer, William Forsythe.
Vincent, whose first ballet experience was the Boston Ballet’s 2018 Nutcracker performance was particularly excited. He was already sold on ballet after seeing the giant teddy bear leap across the stage in December. And then there was the fact he was out late on a school night, had a new pair of fancy opera glasses, as well as a full cup of gummy bears by his side. Truth be told, I was worried we’d have to leave after the first intermission given the attention span of a 7-year-old boy.
Just like Vincent, I was also eager to see the Forsythe works. My interest came from previews on social media and performances at the Boston Ballet Ball. It looked like it would make a very interesting evening at the ballet. It most certainly was.
On opening night, the curtains pulled back to reveal an empty stage with a white backdrop. Even though “Pas/Parts” debuted in Paris in 1999, in my mind, that stage was the artist’s blank canvas. It might have also been the score of mechanical sounds, building upon each other, that made me feel this ballet was about creating. Dancers collected together in modern formations to the most prominent sound of a train. Simple color-blocked costumes provided no distraction, but rather supported the technical feel of the performance. And the backdrop was no longer white. Yes, the stage now had a purpose.
Photos from “Pas/Parts 2018”
Blake Works I
After a brief intermission, Vincent and I enthusiastically returned to our seats for the second ballet, “Blake Works I”. The canvas is now black and soft baby blue costumes pair perfectly with the falsetto voice of British singer/songwriter James Blake. Romance starts to enter the scene.
The emotion in the choreography expressed by the dancers touched me. Again, I was witnessing the realization of creativity, which is always a powerful spectacle.
I was able to ask Boston Ballet Second Soloist, Lawrence Rines, about that emotion displayed on stage and working with Forsythe.
He replied, “Working on and performing this program has been one of the highlights of my career. Getting to work with Bill himself while dancing to some of my favorite songs on the Opera House stage is nothing short of iconic.”
The cute 7-year-old boy sitting aside of me intently looking through his opera glasses with a smile confirmed just how amazing it is.
Photos of Blake Works I
“Playlist (EP)” is fun, bright, and to me the perfect conclusion to the trio of ballets that is “Full On Forsythe.” Modern music and the bursting colors of the costumes adjusted my perception of ballet ever so slightly and seemed to be the evolution of the first two ballets. That blank space housed an exhibit of technical ballet, transforming into romantic and interpersonal pieces. Finally, Forsythe’s creativity gave us the simplicity of pure fun. Of course, one always marvels at the perfect execution by Boston Ballet’s company of extreme talent.
How can you not love a ballet that e
Boston Ballet and William Forsythe completely entertained me with the “Full On Forsythe” program. However, I might not be the toughest critic. I know it really was entertaining because it maintained the attention of a very active 7-year-old boy.
For me, the best part of the ballets was seeing how they also moved my son. Giving the gift of the arts to the next generation is not only special but an essential part of maintaining humankind; creativity gives us a purpose. Yes, I know that sounds a bit over-the-top. But, history tells us it is true.
Full On Forsythe plays through March 17th. Get your tickets HERE.