Think of it as the terpsichorean equivalent of a mic drop—times four, or Beyoncé before Beyoncé (but a decided precursor to “Formation”). However one chooses to look at it, William Forsythe’s “Artifact Suite,” performed over the weekend by Houston Ballet (who premiered it just last month), was an anarchic, jaw-dropping stunner. One third of a unique bill—a trio of American ballet troupes each performing a Forsythe opus—“Artifact” is a one-act, forty-minute abstraction of the his 1984 “Artifact,” the first piece the American-born choreographer made for his now disbanded troupe, Ballett Frankfurt.
Jennifer Stahl in William Forsythe's “Pas/Parts 2016.” Photograph by Erik Tomasson
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE