Tony Rizzi (DE/US)

Antony Rizzi's Moving Productions



Tony Rizzi, of American-Italian descent, has been a prominent figure in the European dance scene for the past 38 years, infusing an underground raw sensibility into performances on opera house stages, small venues, museums, and even his own apartment. Beginning his ballet studies in 1981 at the age of 16, he trained on a full scholarship at the Boston Ballet School under the guidance of Bruce Wells, Richard Dickenson, and Violette Verdy. In 1985, at the age of 20, he joined Ballet Frankfurt under William Forsythe's direction.

Rizzi’s work with Ballet Frankfurt helped redefine the boundaries of ballet. Over his 19-year tenure (1985-2003), he performed major roles in landmark productions such as Kammer/Kammer, Eidos Telos, Impressing the Czar, The Loss of Small Details and Enemy in the Figure. He was twice nominated as Most Outstanding Dancer, Most Innovative Production (for Judy Was Angry) and Most Outstanding Choreographer by Europe’s Ballettanz Annual Critics’ Survey. Additionally, Rizzi served as ballet master and artistic advisor to Forsythe during the last ten years of his time with the company and co-choreographed Firstext with Forsythe and Dana Casperson for Sylvie Guillem at the Royal Ballet in London in 1995.

In 1990, Forsythe invited Belgian avant-garde artist Jan Fabre to create The Sound of One Hand Clapping for Ballet Frankfurt, marking the beginning of a 23-year collaboration. Rizzi played a pivotal role in Fabre's productions, including DA UN' ALTRA FACCIA DEL TEMPO (1993) and the 24-hour epic Mount Olympus, where he portrayed Maria Callas as Medea. Fabre also created the solo Drugs Kept Me Alive for Rizzi.

After Rizzi’s performance in Tokyo, composer Ryuichi Sakamoto invited him to choreograph and dance in his first opera, LIFE. In 2011, Rizzi appeared in Robert Wilson's The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, alongside Marina Abramović, Willem Dafoe and Anohni, which played to sold-out audiences in major cities including Madrid, Basel, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Toronto and New York.

Rizzi has created over 25 works with his group, Tony Rizzi and the Bad Habits, often produced at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. His interdisciplinary works include text, film, photography, and dance, exploring themes such as our connection with nature (A Performance by Nobody, Going Nowhere, for No One in Particular) and the intersection of prostitution and the dance world (She Was Just Somewhere Else). Described as ‘trashy with content,’ his works have toured internationally, including at the ImPulsTanz Festival.

Notable works include An attempt to fail at groundbreaking theater, where Rizzi embodies his idols Penny Arcade and Pina Bausch, Snowman Sinking, a performance initially featuring his mother and later Penny Arcade and Judy Was Angry, featuring award-winning Belgian actress Els Decuckelier as Judy Garland. He has also been commissioned by the Pennsylvania Ballet, Boston Ballet, Bayerische Staatsballet, and Ballet Kiel. His work art is a dirty job but someone has to do it for the Hagen Ballet received critical acclaim online.

Rizzi's solo piece I am a Mistake, using a text from Jan Fabre, was commissioned by Schauspielhaus Frankfurt. Alongside his dance career, Rizzi has modeled for Issey Miyake, worked as a radio DJ, and exhibited his visual art, including large collages and short films, at the Mori Museum in Tokyo, Kunstverein Frankfurt, FotoForum Frankfurt, and the DANCE festival in Munich.

Rizzi began teaching at 23 when Bruce Marks invited him to guest teach at the Boston Ballet. Since then, he has been a guest ballet and improvisation teacher, with Pina Bausch personally inviting him to teach her company after seeing his work Snowman Sinking. He has also staged works by William Forsythe for various dance companies and contributed a chapter on Forsythe in Gerald Siegmund’s William Forsythe: Denken in Bewegung.


        Alessandro Costagliogla
© Alessandro Costagliogla


Antony Rizzi
The Artist Is Here (Choreographer, Performer)
Troubleyn / Jan Fabre & Antony Rizzi
Drugs Kept Me Alive (Performer)
Antony Rizzis Moving Productions
An attempt to fail at ground breaking theatre with Pina Arcade Smith (Choreographer, Dancer)
Troubleyn / Jan Fabre
Orgy of Tolerance (Performer)
Antony Rizzis Moving Productions
Snowman Sinking (Choreographer, Performer)
Antony Rizzis Moving Productions
The Role I Should Have Done (Choreographer, Performer)
Antony Rizzis Moving Productions
Judy Was Angry (Choreographer, Performer)
William Forsythe / Ballet Frankfurt
Eidos: Telos (Dancer)
Antony Rizzis Moving Productions
Universal Copyrights 1 and 9
(with Troubleyn/Jan Fabre) (Performer)