2010 May 11 Win Tickets to the Cullberg Ballet!
When modern dance was separated from ballet in 1900s, it was regarded as a “rebel" by the most classical ballet defenders. However, as with fashion, trends in dance change. Many acclaimed ballet troupes nowadays develop a free style based on strict pirouettes. The Swedish Cullberg Ballet, famous for its dramatic expression and contemporary approach to classical stories is one of the troupes leading this trend.
Cullberg Ballet was founded 1967 by Brigit Cullberg, the legendary dancer who studied with Kurt Joos and Martha Graham and was directed by Mats Eks, Brigit’s young son. In contrast to works focusing purely on abstract body language, Ek’s approach includes social commentary and political content. He is also good at narrating old stories in the fresh way. For Swan Lake, Ek turned “the ethereal swan into a sturdy creature not unlike down-to-earth Swedish lasses of today.”
Johan Iger is another remarkable choreographer in the history of the Cullberg Ballet. He has danced as the soloist for both the Royal Swedish Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. He has created work for the Cullberg Ballet for more than 30 years. His Walking Mad received the Lucas Hoving award, the Dutch theatres’ award for best projection in 2001.
In the upcoming show, audiences will be able to enjoy works from both Iger and Ek. The new artistic director, Anna Grip, who is was appointed in January this year, talked with the Beijinger about the development of contemporary ballet and the three classics she selected for this show: She Was Black (see the trailer here) by Mats EK , Negro Flores (see the trailer here) by Johan Inger and Alexander Ekman’s 40 M Under (see the trailer here).
What distinguishes Cullberg Ballet from other ballet and modern dance troupes?
Cullberg Ballet has been renowned for its dancers. Technically strong but also big stage personalities. The company is also known for a special kind of style which is very low to the floor and also for its special sense of humor.
It is said that Cullberg is “serving as an important cultural ambassador for Sweden.” How so?
During the company’s history, the typical style, and the many ballets with Swedish choreographers, musicians and set designers, has created a reputation of serving as a cultural ambassador for Sweden.
Why did you choose these three works for your China tour?
The three works are created by choreographers from different generations who are strongly associated with Cullberg Ballet.
How many choreographers currently work for Cullberg? Do they all have both ballet and modern dance back grounds?
We don’t have any specific choreographer right now but all the choreographers that we are working with have both ballet and modern dance background.
It seems almost trendy now to combine classical ballet with contemporary dance. What other dance forms Cullberg has used to fuse with ballet?
I believe that there is always a necessary change of interest and that choreographers and artists need to experiment new ways of expressing dance. Classical ballet could be a technique and also a form of expression and esthetics so it is a method to use the classical ballet technique within a contemporary context. The dance forms that Cullberg Ballet fuses with are quite many. I think today things overlap.
Has Cullberg collaborated with other troupes?
If you are talking about a choreographic collaboration I don’t think so but we do share an evening with other companies once in a while.
Johan Inger greatly influenced the direction of Cullberg during his time as artistic director. As the new artistic director, what about his style and method do you want to keep and how do you plan to make it your own?
I hope I will continue to develop the company which has always been done by my successors. And I want to do it together with the ensemble.
Cullberg Ballet will perform at the PLA Song and Dance Theater (8322 0726) on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16. Tickets at (5165 0798 ext 17)
We have a double pass to the Cullberg Ballet's performance this Satrurday, May 15. To win be the first to answer this question:
What year was the Cullberg Ballet founded?
Send your answers to: email@example.com