The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude


Franz Schubert
(Allegro molto vivace, from Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944, “The Great”, 1825-1826)


William Forsythe


Stefanie Arndt

Scenic and Lighting Design

William Forsythe

Costume Design

Stephen Galloway


11 minutes


January 20, 1996; Frankfurt Ballet

PNB Premiere

March 13, 2015

The 2015 PNB premiere of William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude was generously underwritten by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.

Program Notes

Set to the final movement from Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude displays all the traditional accoutrements of classical dance: tutus, point shoes, virtuosity, lyricism, and a friendly display of formal manners between the sexes. Originally the last part of the full-length Six Counter Points, the pas de cinq (three women, two men) provides a breathtaking display of classical technique that serves to illustrate the way in which Forsythe sees the ballet vocabulary as part of a range of choreographic possibilities—distilled here to its purest and most brilliant form. An affectionate homage to both Petipa and Balanchine in its courtly partnering conventions, compositional structure (solo variations set amongst pas de deux, pas de trois, and ensemble sections), and speedy, precise allegro work, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude nonetheless belongs utterly to our time in its overt celebration of the dancers’ ability to make technical difficulty into a triumph of physical mastery and in its self-aware embodiment of a whole tradition of dance.

Notes by Roslyn Sulcas, courtesy of Forsythe Productions. Used by permission.