Project information

William Forsythe - New Work

We will produce a new, world-class ballet by internationally renowned, award-winning choreographer William Forsythe, and perform it at Sadler’s Wells in April 2018. We will open the creative process to reach a wider audience and develop understandings of ballet, creating a legacy for the future.

January 2018 - April 2018

Charity information: English National Ballet

English National Ballet logo
  • Need


    There are always risks associated with creating new work, but innovation is essential to keeping the art form of ballet fresh and relevant for audiences today and in the future. New work is necessary to continue developing talent amongst dancers, choreographers and all members of the creative team, to encouraging bold and exciting new collaborations, and to diversifying audiences, discovering ballet for the first time.


    William Forsythe, renowned for his commitment to pursuing new choreographic ideas, will work with ENB dancers to fuse their skills with his unique style and create an innovative piece that will inspire audiences in the UK. We'll share the creative process with a wider audience through events, digital content and engagement workshops. By educating audiences to enjoy and experience new work, we'll nurture a new generation of dance lovers open to new material that will help the artform flourish.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Produce a new dance piece to enrich British ballet repertoire, premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2018.


    » Schedule rehearsal time for dancers to work with Forsythe. Video the process and make available to dancers/teachers/choreographers in future.
    » Music Director Gavin Sutherland will arrange and orchestrate Stravinsky’s Circus Polka and work with a composer and our orchestra to adapt the score.

    We will deliver 12 performances at Sadler’s Wells as part of a mixed bill, attended by a minimum of 13,000 people. Success will be determined by ticket sales and press reviews.

    Aim 2

    Open up and demystify the creative process, reaching the widest possible audience.


    » Interviewing artistic staff and dancers to share the creative process and reach a wider audience through videos and blogs to contextualise the work.
    » A ticketed masterclass featuring rehearsals followed by a Q&A with William Forsythe and dancers, with opportunities for the audience to ask questions.
    » Grant access to different stages of the rehearsal process for supporters to see the work in progress, rehearsed in our studios and on stage.

    We will organise a number of events, recording attendance of a minimum of 300 people, and produce digital content during Feb/Mar to attract at least 300,000 views on social media.

    Aim 3

    Develop talent and nurture future audiences by encouraging young people to explore the dance world.


    » We will work in partnership with schools to deliver dance workshops for young people that give them access to a new world of dance.
    » Offer subsidised tickets to school partners, including a wider network of young people in the audience to see the final work live.
    » Give young choreographers access to our professional studios, allowing them to research and develop their craft and see the work being developed.

    We will organise workshops around the performance, aiming to reach 100 school students. We will subsidise tickets for schools, with the aim that at least 150 young people attend.

  • Impact


    The piece will have considerable reach and longevity with revivals in the UK and beyond. Previous work by Forsythe ‘changed ballet forever’ so there is potential to make a significant impact on ballet repertoire and its development, and inspire other choreographers, dancers, and audiences. Dancers will acquire new skills that will enrich their movement vocabulary and flexibility. Engagement activity will leave a lasting impression, resulting in ongoing connections with those taking part.


    Commercial success: unknown work can be less appealing to audiences adverse to risk. We will produce inspiring marketing, use blogs and social media to encourage engagement. As an Associate Company of Sadler’s Wells, we will work together to reach new audiences.
    Artistic quality: Artistic Director Tamara Rojo and her team have demonstrated success creating new work, with She Said, Lest We Forget and Giselle. Careful planning and scheduling will ensure enough creation and rehearsal time.


    Supporters will receive regular emails, links to online content featuring material captured during creative workshops and engagement projects. We will invite high level donors into rehearsal studios to see the work in progress. Once premiered, we will circulate press reviews and reports.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £80,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £45,000 Artistic fees Fees for choreographer and creative team, including expenses
      £13,000 Music costs Cost of musicians to work with a composer and music director to arrange the score, plus copyrights
      £7,000 Engagement activities Cost of delivering workshops to 3 schools and cost of subsidizing 150 tickets for your people
      £7,000 Marketing and digital content Costs of producing marketing materials, and creation of videos and blogs
      £8,000 Technical costs Costs to produce costumes and set
  • Background


    Insight events and rehearsals will take place in London, at English National Ballet’s headquarters in Kensington. Final stage rehearsals and performances, as well as most of the Engagement activities, will take place at Sadler’s Wells. Online content will have a national and international reach.


    We expect scheduled performances to reach a minimum of 13,000 people, a further c.150 via the engagement programme aimed at school pupils, and potentially millions online. Future performances will also reach a significant number of audience members, increasing over time. The creative process will also benefit the wider dance community and those dancers involved, giving them the opportunity to work with a renowned chorographer, who last choreographed new work for a UK ballet company in 1995.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    English National Ballet is a world-class company recognised for artistic excellence, innovative collaborations with venues and artists, and accessibility via touring and engagement work. Our commitment to quality and innovation, championed by Tamara Rojo, and the versatility of our dancers have resulted in several critically acclaimed shows over the last three years, and last season we won awards at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and the Olivier Awards.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    William Forsythe, Choreographer

    Is a multi-award winning , internationally renowned artist, famous for respecting classical technique while sat the same time challenging traditions.

    Tamara Rojo CBE, ENB Artistic Director

    Also a world-renowned prima ballerina, known for her commitment to creating new work and bringing world-class ballet to the widest possible audience.

    Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, ENB Engagement Director

    Has extensive experience developing immersive and innovative creative learning projects and will devise and oversee the engagement activities.

    Gavin Sutherland, ENB Music Director And Conductor

    Has vast experience of composing and arranging music for orchestras for dance and ballet, as he most recently did for Akram Khan's Giselle.

“This is ground-breaking work from Akram Khan, Tamara Rojo and the English National Ballet. Such massive risk taken, and what a payoff. A marker for what is possible. How others can respond to this game-changer, I don’t know. Utterly phenomenal.”

Victoria Sadlers, Huffington Post (of Akram Khan's Giselle, commissioned by ENB in 2016)