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.