Shape-shifters and Colombe’s folds: Issey Miyake’s ‘one piece of cloth’ and balletic topologies in William Forsythe’s The Loss of Small Detail

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Abstract The collaboration between William Forsythe and Issey Miyake in Ballett Frankfurt’s The Loss of Small Detail (1991) includes the Colombe dress, used in the finale of the first act, “the second detail.” If seen as a parallel choreographic object in Forsythe’s work, Miyake’s Colombe as “one piece of cloth” concept suggests the fold (Deleuze, 1993) as a potent epistemological principle that unites various versions of the work. Used in the solo dance that bridges two acts, the Colombe dress via the figure of fold visually hints at Forsythe’s choreographic gestures that open out balletic épaulement through “disfocus.” When Miyake’s and Forsythe’s topological gestures are juxtaposed, their discrete works reveal analogous shapeshifting that promotes multidirectional links between ballet and fashion as artistic forms that use historical and cultural frictions to fold into contemporaneity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet
EditorsKathrina Farrugia-Kriel, Jill Nunes
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
EventInternational Dance Day Celebration 2023--Festival and Conference, Shanghai Theatre Academy - Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai, China
Duration: 28 Apr 202330 Apr 2023,to%2030%20April%20in%20Shanghai.

Publication series

NameThe Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet
PublisherOxford University Press


ConferenceInternational Dance Day Celebration 2023--Festival and Conference, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Internet address


  • Dance
  • Fashion design
  • Choreography

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