William Forsythe to Join Dance Faculty at USC Kaufman School of Dance

posted by Madeline Schrock on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
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William Forsythe and Jodie Gates at a rehearsal for one of Forsythe's works. Photo by Ian Carney.

After decades of having a home base in Europe, William Forsythe is planting roots stateside. Starting in fall of 2015, Forsythe will become a professor at the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance with plans to be on campus six to eight weeks each year. The new BFA program, directed by Jodie Gates, who danced in Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt, will welcome its inaugural class of dancers at the same time. Students can expect to learn Forsythe’s own choreographic methods, which will be incorporated into the curriculum’s improvisation and composition classes.

 

Forsythe also plans to extend his reach beyond the program’s dance studios. He’ll head up a Choreographic Institute, which will be an incubator for creative work that will involve collaborations with other schools across the USC campus. Additionally, USC announced that he will mentor the USC International Artist Fellows, graduate students from across the globe who are studying the arts at USC.

 

In a press release from USC, Forsythe mentioned an ongoing pull to mentor dancers: “I’ve done vastly different kinds of work, from neo-classical dance, contemporary dance to highly theatrical work. At my company, I have an open-door policy. Students are welcome to come in and work with us, learn steps, and I usually stay afterward to work with them. So, mentorship is already a part of what I do. This appointment is just a little bit more formalized.”

 

As for the future of his current troupe, The Forsythe Company, a new director will be chosen to determine the artistic direction of the company, which will become a new venture within its currently existing infrastructure. Forsythe will help facilitate the transition.

 

Forsythe’s presence alone will be a major addition to dance in L.A. And it seems the feeling is mutual, as Forsythe warmly describes the city’s dance scene as community driven.