“A swing of an arm and a drop of a limb”: Forsythe Stager talks inspiration for N.N.N.N.


6 March 2020


Todd Rosenberg for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

In an Australian premiere this season, Sydney Dance Company will perform William Forsythe’s dynamic and rhythmic N.N.N.N.. As only the sixth dance company in the world to perform N.N.N.N., this is a major coup for Sydney Dance Company and we are delighted that Forsythe has one again entrusted us with his work.

N.N.N.N. work features four dancers in a state of constant connection – their arms, heads, bodies and legs become singular voices, each tuned and in counterpoint to the other.

In between rehearsals we chatted with Cyril Baldy, a Stager from Forsythe Productions who is in Sydney to teach the choreography to the dancers.

Click below to book your tickets now to see N.N.N.N. as part of Season One: Bonachela / Forsythe from 21 March — 4 April in Sydney and 12 — 16 May in Melbourne.

“Our relationship with William Forsythe began in 2015 after we were the first company in Australia to be granted the right to perform his seminal work Quintett. The trust Forsythe showed in Sydney Dance Company has grown since then and we are delighted to continue our relationship with this extraordinary choreographer in 2020.” – Rafael Bonachela

Q. What does the title N.N.N.N. mean?

N.N.N.N. doesn’t mean anything. It’s taken from a visual cue (pictured above) taken from the dance, where the four performers are standing in a line with their hands on each other’s head. At this moment, looking at the overall picture from the front, one can almost see the letter N four times.

Q. What are some of the inspirations behind N.N.N.N.?

We started with two very simple physical principles: a swing of an arm and a drop of a limb. Both the swing and the drop have very strong musicalities. While extrapolating choreographies from these principles, the movement we created retained the musicality of the drop and the swing, which later became our main focus. We then performed the dance as music.

Q. What can audiences expect to see on stage?

Audiences can expect to see the musicality and hear the dance. The voice of the body starts slowly, then becomes more and more rapid, amassing over and over into an entity of linked flinging arms, folding joints and a sharp, dynamic sense of time.

Q. What does it mean to you to be a Stager for William Forsythe?

Beyond teaching the steps, to stage the work of William Forsythe is to transmit a set of ideas that the performers will engage and work with on stage. Furthermore, to teach his work is to keep the work alive. Not only by reviving what it was, but actualising it with the current performers. My job is to appeal to their love for dance and challenge their understanding of what dance can be and do. Not an easy task, but a very nice one.

Q. How does it feel to work with Rafael Bonachela and Sydney Dance Company?

It is simply wonderful! Rafael is driven, attentive, kind, open, straight forward and super helpful. The team is the same and have been supportive in making sure I have everything I need for the rehearsal process. The dancers are smart, wonderful artists and very kind. They make it easy! I feel blessed that we can all focus on recreating the work.

Book your tickets now to see Season One: Bonachela / Forsythefrom 21 March — 4 April in Sydney and 12 — 16 May in Melbourne.
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