Strut turns tables with William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, Reproduced

Paul Selwyn Norton with Strut dancers. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Paul Selwyn Norton with Strut dancers. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

IN a parallel to the work itself, which features 20 tables, there are many obstacles major dance companies usually have to navigate to present American choreographer William Forsythe’s work One Flat Thing, Reproduced.

In a landmark achievement for national choreographic development centre Strut Dance, Forsythe has released his repertoire to 14 independent dance artists who will perform the free 20-minute piece at the State Theatre Centre of WA Courtyard at 6.45pm from March 29 to April 1.

It will not only be the first time One Flat Thing, Reproduced has been presented outside but the audience will also be free to roam the space to experience it from multiple angles.

Forsythe’s right-hand musical man and Dutch composer Thom Willems has travelled from Frankfurt, where the choreographer is based, to accompany the dancers with live music.

“We are a choreographic development centre so William Forsythe and his training, methodology and repertoire have been part of our choreographic training process,” Strut Dance artistic director Paul Selwyn Norton said.

“At the end of the three years, which we’re coming to now, we have a performance outcome; Bill identified this show to give to us as our goalpost.

“What is beautiful is that I made this piece (in 2000) when I was with his company, so it’s a kind of gift back to me. I think it’s testament to how much he trusts us as an organisation and I think that’s off the back of what we’ve been doing for the past four years.”

Norton said Forsythe came from a classical background but as a great artist he had embraced every single dance style and then amalgamated it into a classical idiom.

“Even this piece has a classical frame around it,” he said.

“You wouldn’t think so to look at it, but you can see his roots in (George) Balanchine. He was born from that culture – highly rigorous, athletic and very dynamic in the space.”

One Flat Thing, Reproduced was taken from a deconstruction of an old show called Robert Scott about the Antarctic explorer who strived to race Roald Amundsen across the ice for the South Pole and failed in the process, losing his life.

“That’s why Bill has created this ice sheet of tables,” Norton said.

“The obstacle of the ice sheet for Robert Scott is the obstacle those dancers have to go over.

“It’s very much about self-governance and that you are the author of your own pathways.”


What: One Flat Thing, Reproduced

Where: State Theatre Centre of WA Courtyard

When: 6.45pm, March 29 to April 1

Entry: Free