Specific Stylistic Features Mats Ek. Analysis

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In this essay I will show one of the greatest choreographers of the twentieth century. Mats Ek. I will depict his specific stylistic features. subjects and dance vocabulary delivery as illustrations some of his most of import re-adapted plants such as Giselle. Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

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Life and calling

Mats Ek was born in Malmo. Sweden on the 18 of April 1945. He came from a really culturally active background: he was the boy of a celebrated Swedish histrion Anders Ek and the internationally recognized choreographer Birgit Cullberg. laminitis and manager of the Cullberg Ballet. his sister Malin was an actress and his brother Niklas a terpsichorean. Mats Ek started his dance surveies ( Martha Graham technique ) with Doya Feur in 1962 alongside with play surveies. In 1965 he became a full clip drama pupil at the Marie College but few old ages subsequently he returned to dance preparation at the Stockholm Ballet Academy. His first theatrical working experience began as the manufacturer and so manager of the Puppet Theatre in Stockholm. During the season 1980-1981. he was associated with the Nederland Dans Theater every bit terpsichorean every bit good as choreographer. Few old ages subsequently he joined the Cullberg Ballet as a terpsichorean and in 1985 he became the artistic manager of it. he directed the company for eight old ages. He left it in 1993 being replaced from Lidstrom and Wennergren Juras.

Re-making of the concert dance classics

“Over ten old ages ago I saw it ( Giselle ) for the first time- with Makarova. She was truly gripped me. Already so. I thought the traditional narrative of Giselle contains many hidden possibilities which are non recognized. There are assorted trails taking indoors. but they are non utilized. They lie fallow or else are powered over”

( Ek. Mats interviewed by Tegeder. Ulrich. Create characters. particular people. Ballet International. 5. 1983:19 )

Mats Ek is a really advanced choreographer of his clip. the station modern epoch. Postmodernism is a motion that rebels against traditional thoughts. Mats Ek is an active adult male of his clip to the full absorbed by the rebellion that was go oning those old ages. This new thoughts incite him to arise against the traditional concert dance classics radically modifying them and giving his ain reading of them. All of his plants are still narrative plants but the plot line of all the concert dances is updated.

“The probe of narrative back streets. heroic waies and metaphorical tunnels is what provides the primary stimulation for re-telling those narratives by making new dances”

( Giannandrea Poesio. Dancing Times. October 2003 page 23 )

His alternate plot lines are pure world non fairy tales. he is non interested in abstract constructs. he change the conventional point of view seting on phase existent subjects. He gives the audience a gustatory sensation of modern-day world.

“A fairy tale is a sweet small bungalow. but on the door you can read: Explosive! ” Mats Ek

The most celebrated concert dances he reinterpreted are traditional concert dances such as Giselle ( 1982 ) . Swan Lake ( 1987 ) and Sleeping Beauty ( 1996 ) .

GiselleMats Ek’s Giselle is something wholly different from Perrot’s original version. The character of the immature Giselle is wholly flipped over ; she is non the 16 old ages old guiltless miss but a passionate and sexual active adult female. In Giselle in fact. Ek introduces and shows gender and love seen such a sexual one and non a romantic one anymore.

( hypertext transfer protocol: //secure. staatsoper. de/ )

Swan Lake

“A lonely. slightly weaker than the-average-Prince-Siegfried. who inquiries his gender ( believe Oedipus composite ) and his mother’s unfastened issues in trying to get married him to person merely like herself. The Prince encounters androgynous animals. swans that waddle through the land instead than the graceful H2O animals that we know from Petipa/Ivanov. ” ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. theballetbag. com/2012/07/13/mats-ek-biography/ )

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. criticaldance. com/reviews/2002/cullberg_swanlake-021023. hypertext markup language )

Sleeping Beauty

“The adolescent Princess Aurora falls in love with “the incorrect guy” and ends up in a drug-induced coma. Carabosse appears as a drug trader and allure Aurora into pricking her finger with the “needle” . At Aurora’s birth the faeries are maternity nurses and subsequently they are pop civilization characters out of a Television show. while the Prince is a witness. ”

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. theballetbag. com/2012/07/13/mats-ek-biography/ )

“Ek has made an amazing interruption from the Sleeping Beauty we know and love. go forthing non a individual rock of Petipa’s building standing. abdicating all the choreographic treasures cut by the imperial jewelry maker of the Tsarist ballet”

( Vollmer. Horst. Irreverently Classical: Mats Ek phases Sleeping Beautywith the Hamburg Ballet. Ballet International. 7. 1996:19 )

Tornrosa – GoteborgsOperans Balett( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. danzaballet. com/ ? p=3497 )

There are besides some plants that seem non to follow a precise plot line like Smoke ( 1995 ) or Appartement ( 1999 ) but they can’t be described as abstract plants because oh their strong content.

Stylistic elements of his stage dancing

Mats Ek stage dancing has two chief characteristic elements: lucidity and sarcasm. All of his stage dancings have a direct and immediate message. truly easy to understand by the audience. With the new version of the traditional concert dances in fact Ek wants to travel directly to the point in the shortest clip possible opposing his plants to the articulate and frequently equivocal traditional concert dances. “Clarity is the choreographer’s cardinal word. as opposed to what he calls the ambiguity of the conventions and the cliche of classical concert dance. “clarity” . nevertheless. should non be mistaken of simpleness. In both Giselle and Swan Lake there lies beneath an accessible. straightforward dramatic building an intricate amalgam os societal. political. cultural and literary references”

( Fifty Contemporary choreographers ) Another of import component of Ek’s stage dancing. as the quotation mark above suggests. is the dramatic building of his plants. Ek does non merely present dramatic state of affairss to the audience but he creates all around an ambiance of sarcasm.

“Irony is a characteristic component of Ek’s stage dancing. in which strong images and dramatic state of affairss frequently contrast with brief. humourous episodes”

( Fifty Contemporary choreographers 2nd edition )

“Even amidst the darkest and most affecting minutes of a not-so-happy-ending state of affairs. he manages to infix fire-cracking amusing subdivisions or mentions that enhance greatly the dramatic physique up by making a alone game of contrasts and choreographic chiaroscuro”

( Giannandrea Poesio. Dancing Times. October 2003 page 25 )

Clear illustrations can be found in Giselle and Swan Lake: The two male peasants’ amusing couple in forepart of Albrecht’ fiancee merely before the reaching of the blue and the terminal of the act in Giselle. The three jesters’ dances merely before the terminal of the deficiency scene in Swan Lake. These amusing episodes are introduced with great ability every clip a dramatic state of affairs reaches its flood tide.


“Political. societal. racial and sexual concerns informed Ek’s foremost three creative activities. Kalfaktorn ( 1976 ) . St George and the Dragon ( 1976 ) and Soweto ( 1977 ) ; psychological subjects and gender issues played a portion in both House of Bernarda Alba ( 1978 ) and Antigone ( 1979 ) long before Giselle and Swan Lake” ( Fifty Contemporary choreographers 2nd edition )

The chief involvement of the choreographer is to research the human psychological science and the human relationships.

“In make overing concert dance classics. Ek’s credo is to render the characters alive. supplying a clear description of their interior emotions and contrasts. The psychological word picture of the function is therefore enlarged ; the characters’ relationships and their emotional response to the development of the action are considered in greater deepness ” ( Fifty Contemporary choreographers 2nd edition )

There are assorted illustrations of different human relationships in Ek’s plants:

Man/Woman in Smoke.

“In “Smoke” Mats Ek shows the relationship between a adult male and a adult female ( Niklas Ek and Sylvie Guillem ) . Each of them has his/her ain life as expressed in their several solos. They meet and mingle tenderly and violently in two pas de deux. The fume which comes from their apparels and oral cavities expresses their communicating. ”

( hypertext transfer protocol: //nycdancestuff. wordpress. com/2012/04/09/smoke-by-mats-ek-imz-dance-screen-award-1996-with-niklas-sylvie-guillem/ )

Family relationships ( parent/ kid ) in Swan Lake as Prince Siegfried are given an oedipal composite or in Sleeping Beauty when Aurora turns against her parents. Near to this is the really subject of “motherhood” that is explored many times every bit good as the one about gender issues in his plants. In Giselle. for illustration. the lone activity conducted by the adult females is giving birth as the eggs brought on phase by the peasant adult female seem to propose. Gender issues are overall explored in The house of Bernarda Alba ( 1980 ) since the chief character is performed by a adult male and in Carmen where the chief character seems to be much more masculine than her adult male. Ek is. one time once more. contending against traditions ; he rebels against the traditional manner of qualifying by conventionalized motions adult male and adult female on phase. Ballet pieces tend to prefer some motions to be performed by female terpsichoreans and different 1s by males. Ek alternatively tries “to cross the boundaries of given gender-specific motions. happening that truly interesting” ( Ek. Mats in Jensen. Gunilla. Intervista a Mats Ek. Reggio Emilia Danza: Edizioni del teatro municipale Valli. 2002. p. 38 )

“The motion linguistic communication usefully opens up gender double stars taking to much more modern-day representations of adult male and adult female. He exposes complexnesss of gender by inverting the far more conventional. steryotiped and idealized figures of traditional ballet”

( Midgelow Vida. Reworking texts- inverting organic structures. Mats Ek radically reconceived the classics. Ballet Theatre Journal )

Rich and hapless in Giselle. In this work Ek introduces the societal subject of category distinction. Giselle. wholly in love with prince Albrecht who is clearly from a different societal category. efforts to offend the societal regulations. Finally she will be punished and rejected from her and Albrecht’s societal category.

White and black in Soweto ( 1977 ) . The mechanical doll’s endless motions represent the white people’ biass against the inkinesss. They are insistent motions and they symbolized the unchangeable thoughts of the Whites about the black people.

Society and foreigner in the 2nd act of Giselle. Giselle is banished from her societal category and trapped into the mental infirmary. This is a clear illustration of the society subjugation. Giselle is banished because mentally disable and considered unable to happen her topographic point into the society once more.

( hypertext transfer protocol: //secure. staatsoper. de/922 -spielplan~ballett~veranstaltungen~vorstellung. hypertext markup language )

Movement Vocabulary

Mats Ek stage dancing is a wholly new and advanced stage dancing. It is based on modern-day techniques. Ek gives much more importance to the organic structure weight so his stairss look more grounded and heavy. The terpsichoreans make a really good usage of the floor. His motion linguistic communication is truly peculiar. there is a unstable usage of the trunk in contrast with the lower portion of the organic structure that is normally bend ( flex articulatio genuss ) . Very interesting is the changeless research of resistance between inwards and outwards motions. The terpsichorean seems first to execute a motion that reaches out from his body’s Centre that ends being all of a sudden pulled back. Ek’s motion linguistic communication reflect his subjects and narrative purpose. it goes against the original motions of the classical concert dance.

“Ek’s stage dancing inverts the traditional linguistic communication of the concert dance. he eschews concert dance codifications. He leaves behind the conventions of gendered vocabularies and the structured hierarchy of the pas de deux in favor of more diverse representations”

( Midgelow Vida. Reworking texts- inverting organic structures. Mats Ek radically reconceived the classics. Ballet Theatre Journal )

A clear illustration is given by the swans in Swan Lake. In the traditional concert dance in fact swans are seen as beautiful and aeriform animate beings absolutely synchronized with each other in every motion. Ek’s swans alternatively are “a set of independent earthly animals that cross the phase with weighty gallops and stomping feet” ( Midgelow. Vida ) .

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. cullbergbaletten. se/en/history )


Mats Ek’s experience in different art signifier truly helped to develop his stage dancing. Mats Ek is non merely a terpsichorean but besides an histrion and puppeteer. In some of the choreographer’s works there are some clear mentions to literature. Ek seems to be strongly linked to the celebrated dramatis William Shakespeare. For illustration the relationship between Prince Siegfried and his female parent can remind us the one between Hamlet and Gertrude.

Influences and Muses

His female parent. Birgit Cullberg. was the most of import Ek’s influence. He dedicated a whole work to her: Old Children ( 1989 ) . He learned a batch from her while he was sharing with her the artistic leading of the Cullberg Ballet. There are batch of common subjects between the two of them but different stylistic features. Birgit’s manner in fact was much more closer to balletic manner.

“The attending to psychological word picture. the sensitive portraiture of human feelings. the apposition of strong images and humourous episodes can be seen as typical properties of both Cullberg’s and Ek’s creations”

( Poesio. Giannandrea. Fifty Contemporary Choreographers )

( hypertext transfer protocol: //birgit+cullberg & A ; oq=birgit+cullberg & A ; gs )

Ana Laguna. Ek’s married woman. is the animating Muse of the choreographer. She originated Giselle character. the Swan Queen in Swan Lake and the supporter in Carmen. “The character of Giselle would hold ne’er been born without Ana Laguna” ( Giannandrea Poesio )

Ana Laguna. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mats Ek( hypertext transfer protocol: //dansportalen. se/111/-fler-artiklar/nyhetsarkiv/1-23-2010-lena-andren- )

Another great terpsichorean who inspired him was Sylvie Guilleme. Ek created for her three plants: Smoke. Wet Woman and Bye.

DecisionI enjoyed so much authorship this essay. I think Mats Ek is an absolute mastermind. his stage dancings are superb original and advanced. I love his reinterpretations of the three concert dance classics. and his choreographic manner. The motion vocabulary is unconventional and provocative. He is a choreographer simple and in its lucidity and spontaneousness we recognized his illustriousness. The messages arrive instantly to the audience. we do non necessitate any explications or assist to understand what the choreographer wants to state we merely necessitate to sit and bask the public presentation.

BibliographyBook:Martha Bremser. Lorna Sanders. Fifty Contemporary Choreographers. Routledge Taylor. London and New York 2011. Accessed on 8th of April 2013 Articles:Pesio. Giannandrea. Mats Ek. The Dancing Times. October 2003. P 22. Accessed on the 12th of April 2013Midgelow. Vida. Reworking texts-inverting organic structures. Dancer Theatre Journal 15 ( 2 ) 1999. p 4-7. Accessed on the 12th of April 2013 Jensen Gunilla. Mats Ek and the Cullberg Ballet. the Dancing Times. August 1997. P 993. Accessed on the 13th of April 2013

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