Despite being almost 30 years old the uncompromising, complex, fiercely challenging and spectacularly virtuosic choreography of William Forsythe’s seminal ballet ‘Artifact’ still feels as bold and daring as it did when it premiered in 1984.
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Artifact has been described as an ode to ballet – an abstract celebration of all that classical ballet embodies infused with the sculptural hallmarks of contemporary dance. The extended lines of the dancers’ bodies are amplified by Forsythe’s meticulous lighting and costume designs, creating shadowy landscapes across which flocks of barely-visible forms traverse, or with laser-beam like floods, starkly lit stages that reveal in exquisite detail the severe beauty of Forsythe’s choreography. Such is the nuance and skill required to stage this work that Forsythe allows just one company in the world perform the ballet in its entirety – the Royal Ballet Flanders. Known for their flawless technique and boldly unconventional productions, Royal Ballet Flanders have been performing and touring worldwide for over four decades, and under the expert direction of Kathryn Bennetts they are bringing Artifact, in a rare outing to Birmingham Hippodrome from the 25th to the 26th of April.
Text: Maxim Bendall
Film and photography: Oscar Hudson