Press releases

Cullbergbaletten to perform at the International Festival of Contemporary Dance of the Biennale di Venezia

Cullbergbaletten is invited to this year’s Venice Biennial with Figure a Sea by Deborah Hay and Laurie Anderson. The work will be presented at Teatro alle Tese on June 30.

It is the first time ever that Cullbergbaletten participates in the prestigious international biennial, and the first time in almost 40 years that the company performs in Venice. Festival Internazionale di Danza Contemporanea was hosted for the first time in 1999. Up until then dance had been a part of the biennial’s music program. The dance department is directed and curated by the Canadian choreographer and dancer Marie Chouinard. The 12th International Festival of Contemporary Dance of the Venice Biennale will run from 22 June to 1 July, showcasing several daily events.

“It is of course an amazing honor for the company to be invited to such an important international festival with this choreography. It is the crown’s jewel after last year’s 50th anniversary, and it marks the company’s position and ever growing international status as a leading contemporary dance company, says Gabriel Smeets, artistic director of Cullbergbaletten.

Figure a Sea was created for 21 dancers and premiered at Dansens Hus in Stockholm in September 2015. Audiences and reviewers around the world have consistently described Figure a Sea as a masterpiece.

“Figure a Sea is a meditation on seeing. Seeing music, fleeting incidences and synchronicities, unbelievable unexpectedness and, most surprising seeing the unnamable. It is a space for seeing oneself seeing”, says Deborah Hay on Figure a Sea.

Deborah Hay (born 1941 in Brooklyn) has achieved icon status among choreographers. Her work was formulated in 1960s experimental Judson Dance Theatre in New York, one of the most radical and influential post-modern art movements. Hay’s dances center on undoing the body’s reliance on learned behavior by enlarging the field from which a dancer can resource movement. She spent many years choreographing solo works for notable artists including Mikhail Baryshnikov. The choreographer William Forsythe helped influence her international career after seeing the premiere of her quartet The Match in 2005 at the Montpellier Dance Festival. She has been awarded many grants and awards including the inaugural and groundbreaking Doris Duke Artist Award in 2012. May 5, 2015 France’s Minister of Culture and Communication awarded Hay the title of Chevallier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Laurie Anderson (born in 1947 in Glen Ellyn) began her career as a sculptor and performance artist in the late 1960s. Early in her career she worked as an illustrator and art critic. She is a pioneer in electronic music and has written both popular and art music and collaborated with, among others, William Burroughs, Peter Gabriel and Lou Reed. Since 1975, she has recorded seven albums. Anderson plays several instruments, variations of the violin being her main one. O Superman, from 1981 is one of her most famous songs which also reached as high as second place in the British charts. Her film Heart of a Dog was screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2015.

Zodiak, Center for New Dance, Helsinki, Finland
Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA
Balletto di Roma, Rome, Italy
Centro per la Scena Contemporanea – Comune di Bassano del Grappa, Bassano del Grappa, Italy
CCAP, Stockholm, Sweden

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For more information, please contact:
Erica Espling, PR and Marketing Manager, Cullbergbaletten
+46-70 602 27 01

Cullbergbaletten is the leading repertoire company for contemporary dance in Sweden. The company is an important contributor to the international presentation of dance and choreography with tours all over the world. Cullbergbaletten works with a range of international choreographers and artists. The company currently has 16 dancers from nearly as many countries, and guest dancers are continuously invited to various projects. Since its inception the individual quality of each dancer has been Cullbergbaletten’s defining characteristic. By collaborating with choreographers and directors who are rooted in the contemporary field, Cullbergbaletten contributes strongly to the development of performing arts and dance as an art form. Cullbergbaletten’s activities encompass different projects and productions including workshops, conferences, seminars, and lectures. The directors are Gabriel Smeets and Stina Dahlström. Cullbergbaletten was founded in 1967 by Birgit Cullberg under the auspices of Riksteatern, the Swedish National Touring Theatre, of which it is still part.