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With its high-tech musical score and Forsythe's expansive approach to classical ballet technique, Behind the China Dogs creates an unconventional and sometimes improvisational look and mood. Composed of group sections interspersed with solos and duets in which the dancers thrust, extend, leap and turn to off-balance extremes, Behind the China Dogs is an expression of the joys and tensions of the 1980's. The juxtaposition of high-tech glamour and punk influences also demonstrates his interest in European tanztheater or theater dance.
Forsythe invites the audience to relinquish conventional views of dance through the inclusion of sound, speech, lighting and even set pieces as equal partners to the dancers. The score for Behind the China Dogs is a collage of digested recordings of Louis Armstrong, barking dogs, and a Webern string quartet, and was commissioned for the 1988 American Music Festival.
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