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Erica Espling
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Cullbergbaletten celebrates 50 years

Next year, 2017, Swedish dance company Cullbergbaletten celebrates 50 years of extraordinary ground breaking contemporary dance. For the anniversary, the company will present a unique encounter between two monumental works that were created for and with the company: Eurydice is Dead by Birgit Cullberg and Protagonist by Jefta van Dinther. The celebration program will be presented at Dansens Hus, Stockholm in April 2017.

The restaging of Birgit Cullberg’s Eurydice is Dead from 1968 will be in collaboration with choreographer and former artistic director Mats Ek and dancer Ana Laguna.

“We are delighted and excited to present Eurydice is Dead and to show it alongside our latest creation Protagonist by Jefta van Dinther. Both pieces explore the need for, and the aftermath of a revolution. To present these two art works on the same stage on one evening is more than just a way of connecting the past with the present. From this encounter of two monumental choreographies from Cullbergbaletten’s repertoire a new energy will emerge that allows us to see the intrinsic artistic quality of each work”, says Gabriel Smeets, artistic director.

Eurydice is Dead premiered in January 1968. A political creation at the time, the piece focused on the individual’s fight against power and oppression, inspired by the movie Battle of Algiers (directed by Gillo Pontecorvo) and the Greek mythology. Protagonist by Jefta van Dinther was created with fourteen dancers from the company and premiered at Julidans in Amsterdam in the summer of 2016.

In addition to this artistic encounter, the dancers of Cullbergbaletten will be invited to create choreographies inspired by or based on Birgit Cullberg’s works. These unique interpretations will be presented in a smaller stage context in Stockholm during the spring.

During the celebration week, Cullbergbaletten will organize an international seminar about the relation a contemporary dance company has with its artistic legacy. Just like every dance company that was founded by a dance innovator who turned into a legend in their own days, Cullbergbaletten has a strong legacy. How does Cullbergbaletten relate to the legacy? Is the historical frame necessary in order to define the contemporary explorations? These and other questions will be answered in the seminar About dance legacy, heritage and dancers’ archives in April 2017 at Dansens Hus in Stockholm.

 

Cullbergbaletten has performed all over the world and is an important contributor to the international presentation of contemporary dance. The company also engages in national outreach through its tours within Sweden. Cullbergbaletten collaborates with a variety of national and international choreographers and performing artists who create works for large as well as small stages. Cullbergbaletten’s activities encompass different projects and productions including collaborations with dance training programs. Cullbergbaletten was founded by Birgit Cullberg in 1967 under the auspices of Riksteatern – The Swedish National Touring Theatre, of which it still is a part. The company currently has 16 dancers from nearly as many countries. Since its inception, the stage personalities, creativity and technical strength of its dancers have been Cullbergbaletten’s defining characteristics. Gabriel Smeets is the artistic director since 2014.