In the middle, somewhat elevated

Pennsylvania Ballet



Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancers Amy Aldridge and Ian Hussey performing In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Photo by Candice DeTore.

American choreographer William Forsythe has spent his career primarily in Germany, where he directed Ballett Frankfurt (now the Forsythe Company). In the middle, somewhat elevated, originally commissioned by Rudolf Nureyev in 1987 for the Paris Opera Ballet, is set to a pulsating, electronic soundscape by Thom Willems. The work has since been recognized as a contemporary masterpiece. Forsythe has written, "In the middle, somewhat elevated is a theme and variations in the strictest sense. Exploiting the vestiges of academic virtuosity that still signify "the Classical," it extends and accelerates these traditional figures of ballet. By shifting the alignment and emphasis of essentially vertical transitions, the affected enchaînements receive an unexpected force and drive that makes them appear foreign to their own origins." This Forsythe acquisition was the second in Pennsylvania Ballet's history, and was followed up with 2013 performances of his Artifact Suite.