Forsythe to step down
Posted 27 August 2002 - 07:33 AM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 07:56 AM
Frankfurt, 27 August, 2002
Dear Friends, Respected Colleagues, Persons and Governors of the City of Frankfurt,
In light of recent developments, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for the encouragement I have received in every imaginable kind of gesture from here at home and every part of the world.
For the last 18 years, the City of Frankfurt has provided unwavering and generous support for the development of Ballett Frankfurt. I have gladly served as a cultural ambassador, attempting to demonstrate world-wide what this city’s deep commitment to the performing arts could accomplish. This commitment of the City of Frankfurt has enabled the evolution of my thought-work to a degree which would have been have difficult or even impossible to realize in a majority of metropolitan cultures in the world.
Over the course of the last several years, I have experienced a shift in my perception of the field in which I am operating. This has engendered a very specific professional intention which lacks adequate identity with my current position as director of a large municipal institution. As an artist I feel it would be inconsistent to pursue this personal and particular telos in such a setting, over a longer period of time.
The practice of introducing methods which delineate perceptual rules and boundaries is central to the domain of artistic practice. For the present, I feel strongly that my own methodological evolution would be best served if conducted in a context less integrated into a field of political practice that is, understandably, challenged by the task of establishing primary descriptive models of cultural policy that can be accurately represented by numbers. It is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to objectively translate or reduce intrinsic, multiple values as are typically embedded in art, into interest-maximizing numbers that explicate it’s relevance in political models of cultural well-being. Simply said, I wish to pursue a more independent organizational path. I must admit however, it is difficult to leave a body of work, my life’s work, behind.
I especially wish to extend to the citizens of Frankfurt my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude for their enduring and intense devotion to the long-term constructive development of that extraordinary entity, the audience of the Ballett Frankfurt. The work is first and foremost conceived for you who have determined the direction of this institution’s artistic goals. I thank you for your exceptional rigor and sensibility.
With greatest respect,
Posted 27 August 2002 - 08:24 AM
There are several interesting aspects to this news (aside from the What Really Happened one, which I think we should avoid, since we don't know). What I think he's saying is that right now he wants to have his own company, not a city or state institution -- and I'd second that. Do others read it that way?
Also -- and we've discussed this before, regarding Forsythe's statement that after he dies, he wants his work to die with him -- what happens to his work? It's a problem that dates back to Diaghilev: when Fokine left, he thought he could take his work with him, but found he didn't own it.
The modern dance model is "I am the company." It's inconceivable that Paul Taylor would leave the Paul Taylor Dance Company to form, say, Paul's Dancers, and have to worry about what happens with his work. And maybe Forsythe wants to go in such a different direction that past work would be a hindrance to that.
Frankfurt Ballet has been more a European phenomenon than an American one. The company does not often perform here. About 15 years ago, when Forsythe was The Next Great Choreographer, lots of companies performed his works. After he had his own company and didn't need, nor have the time, to freelance, he hasn't been an active presence in American ballet, although he has many, many imitators.
What happens now?
Posted 27 August 2002 - 08:34 AM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 08:44 AM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 08:54 AM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 09:08 AM
In London, weren't the first modern dance companies -- London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ballet Rambert -- more collective than auteur? We've never had a successful LCDT; there were a few attempts at repertory modern dance companies but they didn't last.
The idea of models has interested me for awhile, because when I started looking at dance companies' histories, it seemed there were some that were institutions and others that were not, and that there's an institutional model, where a repertory and aesthetic is consistent and develops slowly over time, and an ex-institutional one, where the company reflects the tastes and expertise of the Artistic Director at that specific period in time. (In ballet, the great example of the latter was Robert Joffrey, I think, and it's become the model that more and more American companies are adopting -- and it's spreading.)
Posted 27 August 2002 - 09:56 AM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 10:29 AM
I feel strongly that my own methodological evolution would be best served if conducted in a context less integrated into a field of political practice that is, understandably, challenged by the task of establishing primary descriptive models of cultural policy that can be accurately represented by numbers. It is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to objectively translate or reduce intrinsic, multiple values as are typically embedded in art, into interest-maximizing numbers that explicate it’s relevance in political models of cultural well-being.
If I understand him right, he's saying, "I'm leaving because I don't want to have to make things that people want to see." I'm not saying this isn't a perfectly defensible, not to say wise, reason for taking his leave; but did he require quite so many polysyllables to say it?
Posted 27 August 2002 - 12:46 PM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 01:51 PM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 01:57 PM
Alexandra, I'm not so much knowledgeable about German geography, but perhaps if you lived there you could go rather easily to other German cities with a larger repertory, Germany still has a rather large number of companies with a varied repertory... But I agree that it can be a problem. Now in most French cities the only "home" companies are state-funded "centres chorégraphiques nationaux" directed by modern choreographers, and so when you don't like the works of Gallotta (in Grenoble), Monnier (in Montpellier), Saporta (in Caen), etc. you can only rely on touring companies, which often aren't very numerous.
Posted 27 August 2002 - 04:16 PM
Posted 27 August 2002 - 06:38 PM
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