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Forsythe prized for independence

November 24, 2002|Lewis Segal

On Tuesday, 52-year-old expatriate American choreographer William Forsythe receives the $50,000 Wexner Prize at Ohio State University in Columbus. Awarded annually for the past nine years to a major contemporary artist, the prize honors Forsythe at exactly the moment he has resigned as artistic director of the Frankfurt Ballet in search of what he calls "a more independent organizational path."

Like Carolyn Carlson, John Neumeier and other American choreographers, Forsythe found the American dance scene too constricting and left to make a home and career in Europe -- in his case Germany, beginning in 1973. He became the artistic director of the Frankfurt Ballet 11 years later, famed for a style of daring, futuristic classicism that has, arguably, influenced more dance-makers than anything since George Balanchine's neoclassicism swept the dance world.

These achievements will be celebrated in Columbus beginning today through Wexner-sponsored film, lecture and panel presentations, plus a Forsythe master class.

Previous recipients of the prize include director Peter Brook, music and dance icons John Cage and Merce Cunningham, filmmaker Martin Scorsese and artist Robert Rauschenberg.

-- Lewis Segal

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