"In the middle, somewhat elevated" is what modern dance should be about. The piece opens with an industrial crash, and the electronic-punk soundtrack by Thom Willems grabs the audience (and the dancers) by the throat and doesn't let up.
It was first performed in 1987 by the Paris Opera Ballet - in the Palais Garnier with its rococco stylings and Marc Chagall roof. The stage is bare, the wings exposed, and the performers wear skintight lycra. This contrast carries into the choreography with its playful contrast of angular movement with classical references and pas de deux.
The dancers match the frenetic music, the focus shifting from one dancer to a group to a pair. Often there are multiple groupings at once, and sometimes the briefest of handoffs as a single shared movement is taken in different directions.
Dancers give the briefest of acknowledgements to each other before they part - stalking away in disdain - forming again in aggression or sexual tension before parting again. The piece is demanding and relentlessly angular - making heavy demands on the dancers.
This performance by the San Francisco Ballet was magical. It came at the end of the night after two other pieces.
"Naked" is choreographed by Stanton Welch to music by Poulenc. It seemed that the dancers were not fully invested in the piece however. There are playful elements to the piece that I felt were missing, and while it was entertaining I felt myself drifting. "Ibsen's House" by Val Caniparoli to music by Dvorak seemed to engage the dancers more. There are some engaging ensemble dances for the female dancers, and some of the pas de deux are great.
But really the Forsythe, last for physical reasons, is a level above in terms of performance and commitment. It was worth the ticket price on its own. Highly highly recommended.