TU 21.02.2023, 7.30 PM

Ek | Ekman

Choreographies by Mats Ek and Alexander Ekman


A Sort of…

Choreography by Mats Ek
Music by Henryk M. Górecki

Mats Ek is one of the leading personalities of 20th century choreography. With his radical reinterpretation of the ballet classic GISELLE for the Cullberg Ballet he caused widespread international resonance in 1982 because no one previously had dared to change the original choreographic text and the form of the libretto. In this version, critics and audience recognized the beginning of a new era of theatrical dance.

»My choreographies are underlaid with a subtext: when you dance them, you have to connect certain images and feelings with the movement. Without them the movements just appear strange and peculiar. The focus always has to be clear: for a solo, it’s directed to the interior of the person, for several dancers it’s related to the partners«, as Mats Ek himself describes the attitude being necessary to perform his choreographies. With the dancers of the Staatsballett Berlin, he is now working on his piece A SORT OF…, which premiered in 1997 at the Nederlands Dans Theatre. With this programme, he finds his way into the Berlin ballet repertoire for the first time.


Choreography by Alexander Ekman
Music by Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert

In CACTI, Alexander Ekman turns his keen eye upon the scene that birthed him: contemporary dance itself. A gleeful and knowing parody of the art form’s greater excesses, CACTI is an affectionate, pointed, and often hilarious deconstruction of the affectations of dance. 27 dancers stand, seemingly trapped, on oversized Scrabble tiles. While a string quartet plays and spoken recordings give tongue-in-cheek narration of the action, the dancers try to escape their invisible prisons; eventually —and this is the important bit— they each acquire a cactus. But what does it all mean?
Ekman has written: »This work is about how we observe art and how we often feel the need to analyze and ‘understand’ art. I believe that there is no right way and that everyone can interpret and experience art the way they want. Perhaps it’s just a feeling that you can’t explain or perhaps it’s very obvious what the message is.« His work CACTI (2010) has been performed by 20 dance companies worldwide.

A Sort of…

  • Choreography and staging: Mats Ek
  • Music: Henryk M. Górecki
  • Stage and costume design: Maria Geber
  • Lighting design: Ellen Ruge
  • Recorded music


  • Choreography, stage and costume: Alexander Ekman
  • Music: Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert
  • Lighting design: Alexander Ekman | Tom Visser (implementation)
  • Text: Spenser Theberge
  • String quartet/Orchestra Deutsche Oper Berlin: Elisabeth Heise-Glaß (1st violin), Aaron Biebuyck (2nd violin), Maria Dubovik (viola), Arne-Christian Pelz (cello)

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