Neoclassical ballet

Boston Ballet will present MINDSCAPE

Boston Ballet will present MINDscape, a program featuring the world premieres of William Forsytheby Blake Works III and Ruth’s Dance by resident choreographer Jorma Elo, as well as the return of Blake Works I by Forsythe. MINDscape runs May 5-15 at Citizens Bank Opera House.

“We are extremely fortunate to have two of the finest living choreographers here in Boston creating new work for our company,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “When William Forsythe creates a world first, it is a major event. I’m thrilled that Boston Ballet is premiering Bill’s new play, Blake Works III. I am grateful for our special relationship with Bill and proud to have the richest collection of his ballets in the United States. He continues to push the art form and our dancers further, and I am thrilled to share these impactful works with you. As a longtime resident choreographer, Jorma Elo is creating new classic works with ballet technique infused with her distinct individual flavor. From the first glimpses of her rehearsals, I was blown away by the freshness and emotion. I hope you enjoy another page from Jorma’s amazing ballet book, accompanied by our amazing Boston Ballet Orchestra.”

Blake works I

Forsythe’s Blake Works I is a work for 21 dancers set to music by a GRAMMY-nominated British musician James Blakethe album “The color in anything”. According to Forsythe, the ballet is dedicated to all the teachers who have allowed us to see the joy in the rigor. Created in 2016 for the Paris Opera Ballet, Blake Works I is the first ballet Forsythe has created since 1999 when he choreographed Woundwork I and Pas/Parts for the Paris Opera Ballet. It was described as “pure joy” by Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times. Boston Ballet made the North American premiere of Blake Works I in 2019.

Blake Works III (The Barre Project)

Presented as a world premiere, Forsythe’s Blake Works III is the final installment of his evolving work The Barre Project (Blake Works II). The work draws its inspiration from the propulsive and rigorously structured songs of the composer James Blake, whose work appears primarily in the idiom of popular music. The Barre series began in 2020 at the height of the pandemic as a dance filmed with Tiler’s prick, Lex Ishimoto, Brooklyn Mack and Roman Meijia which aired to global audiences facing restrictions on live performances at the time. Boston Ballet’s live stage version features newly choreographed sections that showcase the ensemble’s diverse and formidable talents and is a version of the ballet that is unique to this company alone.

William Forsythe is “widely recognized as one of the most important choreographers working today” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times), and his work has been performed by virtually every major ballet company in the world. Forsythe danced with the Joffrey Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed resident choreographer in 1976. He spent the next seven years of his career creating new work for Stuttgart and companies around the world. In 1984, he began a 20-year term as director of the Frankfurt Ballet. He was then director of The Forsythe Company – a new independent ensemble based in Dresden and Frankfurt am Main – which he directed from 2005 to 2015. Forsythe’s work continues to be commissioned by the most prestigious institutions in the world and he regularly gives lectures. and workshops at universities and cultural institutions around the world. He is an honorary member of the Laban Center for Movement and Dance in London and holds an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School. Forsythe is a dance teacher and artistic advisor at the Choreographic Institute at the University of Southern California. Glorya Kaufman Dance School. The Boston Ballet launched a long-term partnership with Forsythe in 2016.

Ruth’s dance

Jorma Elo’s world premiere, Ruth’s Dance, features 23 dancers and is set to music by JS Bach. This artwork is in honor of Elo’s mother and the theme of the loss of a loved one. Live music from the Boston Ballet Orchestra accompanies the dancers, along with two pianists and a small chamber orchestra. An excerpt from Ruth’s Dance was called a “neoclassical gem” (The Boston Globe) when it premiered as part of Boston Ballet’s virtual reSTART program in 2021.

“This is a deeply personal ballet for me, and I’m grateful to honor my mother with this new work,” Elo said. “Despite the sadness of losing someone, this work is happy, because it was a bundle of energy and joy. It is the reason why I dance and why I love music, and I hope to convey what I learned from her to inspire dancers.”

Born in Finland, Jorma Elo was named Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer in 2005. He has created more than 60 works for more than 30 companies worldwide, including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. Elo danced professionally with the Finnish National Ballet and the Cullberg Ballet and joined the Netherlands Dance Theater in 1990, where he enjoyed a 15-year career. Elo received the Pro Finlandia Medal from the Order of the Lion of Finland, one of Finland’s highest honours, in 2015. He was awarded the prestigious Benois de la Danse Moscow Prize for Best Choreography in 2011 for his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Slice. at Sharp.

All patrons attending a Boston Ballet indoor performance must show proof of vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering the venue and must wear a mask inside the theater at all times, regardless of their vaccination status. For more policy details, please visit

The 10 performances of MINDscape will take place at the Citizens Bank Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111):

Thursday May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday May 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday May 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Thursday May 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday May 14 at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday May 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday May 15 at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $39. For more information, visit or call 617.695.6955.

MINDscape lasts approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with 2 intermissions.

Blake works I
Choreography: William Forsythe
The music: James Blake
Scenography: William Forsythe
Costume design: William Forsythe and Dorothee Merg
Lighting design: William Forsythe and Tanja Rühl

Ruth’s Dance
world premiere
Choreography: Jorma Elo
Music: J.S. Bach
Lighting designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Costume design: Ezra Lovesky

Blake Works III (The Barre Project)
world premiere
Choreography: William Forsythe
The music: James Blake
Scenography: William Forsythe
Assistant to the choreographer: Jodie Gates
Costume design: William Forsythe
Lighting designer: Brandon Stirling Baker