When the first group of BFA candidates enters University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in the fall of 2015, the curriculum and studios will be brand-new. So will professor William Forsythe, who announced this spring that he would be leaving The Forsythe Company in the hands of former Ballet Frankfurt dancer Jacopo Godani to join the program’s dance faculty. “Mentorship is already part of what I do,” he said in a USC press release. “This appointment is just a little bit more formalized.”
Forsythe was interested in USC because of the school’s plans for collaboration and research. Director and vice dean Jodie Gates says the interdisciplinary curriculum will reach beyond diverse dance techniques by integrating studies in technology. “The virtual world is upon us,” she says. “We are interested in helping dancers develop new art forms, such as choreography for animation and gaming.” In addition to teaching composition and improvisation, Forsythe will mentor the USC International Artist Fellows, a program for emerging artists, and serve as artistic advisor to the Choreographic Institute, the research arm of the dance program.
Through e-mail, Forsythe said he will neither be living in California nor Germany full-time, alluding to a nomadic lifestyle. But he recognizes that the timing of the school’s opening in a burgeoning dance city couldn’t be more compelling. “There is a push in Los Angeles to make the dance community more interesting, all the time, and in any capacity,” he said. “In other very established artistic communities like Paris or London there are a few important individuals, but you don’t have the same kind of drive.”
From top: The Forsythe Company in Study #3; William Forsythe. Photos by Dominik Mentzos, Courtesy Sadler’s Wells and Forsythe Company.