As an American working internationally for the last thirty years, William Forsythe is recognized as the world's foremost choreographer of contemporary ballet. His work is celebrated for reorienting the practice of ballet from its identification with classical repertoire into a dynamic 21st century art form.
Raised and principally trained in New York, Forsythe arrived on the European dance scene in his early 20s as Resident Choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet while also creating new works for ballet companies in Munich, the Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, New York and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as Director of the Frankfurt Ballett where he created many of the most celebrated dance theatre works of our time, such as The Loss of Small Detail (1991) in collaboration with composer Thom Willems and designer Issey Miyake. Other key works from the Ballett Frankfurt years include Gänge (1982), Artifact (1984), Impressing the Czar (1988), Limb's Theorem (1990), A L I E/N A(C)TION (1992), Eidos:Telos (1995), Endless House (1999) and Kammer/Kammer (2000). Forsythe's choreography and his companies' performances have won overwhelming audience acclaim and the most prestigious awards the field has to offer, such as the Bessie (1988, 1998, 2004), Laurence Olivier Award (1992, 1999), Commandeur des Arts et Lettres (1999), the German Distinguished Service Cross (1997) and the Wexner Prize (2002).
After the closure of Ballett Frankfurt in 2004, Forsythe established a new, more independent ensemble - The Forsythe Company. His most recent creations are developed and performed exclusively by the new company while his previous work is prominently featured in the repertoire of virtually every major ballet company in the world including The Kirov, The New York City Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet Covent Garden and the Paris Opera Ballet among many others. The Forsythe Company, based in Frankfurt and Dresden, enjoys a yearly residency at the Halle im Schiffbau of the Schauspielhaus Zürich and also maintains an extensive international touring schedule.
Forsythe's choreographic thinking has engaged with and contributed to the most significant international artistic currents of our time: from performance and visual arts to architecture and interactive multimedia. His short film, Solo, was presented at the 1997 Whitney Biennial. He has created architecture/performance installations commissioned by Daniel Libeskind in Germany, Artangel in London, Creative Time in New York and the City of Paris. In 2006, a major exhibition of his performance, film and installation work will be presented at the München Pinakothek der Moderne.
In 1994, Forsythe virtually reinvented the teaching of dance improvisation with his pioneering and award-winning computer application Improvisation Technologies: a tool for the analytical dance eye which is used by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, post-graduate architecture programs and even secondary schools. As an educator, Forsythe is regularly invited to lecture and give workshops at major universities and cultural institutions internationally. He served as the first Mentor in Dance in the inaugural cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and currently co-directs and teaches in the Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe (D.A.N.C.E.) program. Forsythe has been awarded an honorary fellowship from the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York.