News: William Forsythe to leave Ballett Frankfurt

Friday 7 April 2006

William Forsythe
has announced that he will be stepping down as Director of Ballett Frankfurt, when his contract expires in 2004.
His decision follows the threat of withdrawal of support by Frankfurt City Council, which had seemed to have been withdrawn.
Background to story

His reasons for this decision
are given in an open letter:

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,

William Forsythe

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