Impressing the Czar

Choreography by William Forsythe

Golden cherries, ostentatious dresses, a ballet set to classical music – the tsar would have been very impressed. But he has long since been swept away, just as living legend William Forsythe tends to sweep away conventional dance: radical, peppered with humor, he demonstrates this in the ground-breaking ballet »Impressing the Czar«, which premiered in 1988. The story ballet without a story begins to opulent costumes and sets, a naughty pictorial broadsheet, which turns out to be a scathing satire of art history and deconstruction of the history of dance. On its ruins, Forsythe rebuilds a new world: Traditional ballet movements are heightened, accelerated and combined anew to create »In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated« – since 2006 part of the Semperoper Ballet repertoire – the center section of this ballet evening. Dance and dancers alike celebrate themselves to electronic sound beats: »Drive, sex and virtuosity«, according to one review. Excess is eliminated, and in the end of »Czar«, even the remnants of any cultural heritage are auctioned off. What remains is a wild troop of college girls dancing to MTV-like moves, as outrageously simple as it is breathtakingly fast-paced.


This page features a ballet video titled Impressing the Czar – Week III. The ballet company performing in this ballet video include Dresden Semperoper Ballett. Choreography featured in this video is by .