Dance Magazine Award Spotlight: Mats Ek

posted by Jenny Dalzell on Friday, Nov 29, 2013
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Mats Ek with Ana Laguna and Baryshnikov. Photo by Bengt Wanselius, Courtesy Kultur.

When you think of choreographers revamping old, familiar ballets, Mats Ek might come to mind. His revision of Giselle is what brought the Swedish choreographer to international fame in 1982; he shocked audiences by uprooting Giselle and placing her in an insane asylum with Myrta as the head nurse. He's also redone Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and recently Romeo and Juliet, creating Julia & Romeo for the Royal Swedish Ballet using Tchaikovsky's score. Ek has also choreographed countless original works over the course of his career for Cullberg Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and Paris Opéra Ballet, among others. On December 9, Ek will receive a 2013 Dance Magazine Award.

 

Take a look at one of Ek's recent hallmark works, Appartement, which he created for the Paris Opéra in 2003. In this excerpt, étoiles Sylvie Guillem and Nicolas Le Riche perform the pas de deux.

 

 

Ek, the son of Birgit Cullberg who founded Cullberg Ballet, got his professional start in drama and filmmaking. He created the award-winning TV film, Smoke (see it below), featuring his brother Niklas and Sylvie Guillem. And click here for an excerpt of his 2012 DVD Place, a 30-minute duet for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ek's wife, Ana Laguna.

 

 

Unless you speak Bavarian, you won't understand the interviews in this film about the Bavarian State Ballet's revival of Ek's Giselle. But the beautiful footage gives you a clear view of the work and Ek's movement style: 

 

 

The 2013 Dance Magazine Awards, honoring Philip Glass, Martha Clarke, Mats Ek, Patricia Wilde and Yuan Yuan Tan, will be held December 9 at the  The Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC. The ceremony is open to the public with a reception immediately following. Tickets are available for $50; contact Ashley Mathus at 212-979-4872 or dmawards@dancemedia.com.