Mats Ek

Матс Эк

Choreographer, director


One of the leading intellectuals and psychoanalysts in the world of ballet was born in 1945 in the family of the famous stage and film actor Anders Ek and the ballerina, choreography educator, and founder of the Cullberg Ballet troupe, Birgit Cullberg.

Throughout his youth, Mats tried to choose between different theatrical genres. He worked with puppets and was an assistant to Ingmar Bergman in the dramatic theater (an experience that undoubtedly left a mark on all his subsequent works), but by the age of 30, dance had taken hold of him. Mats pursued further education, studying both classical ballet and Martha Graham's technique, and then joined the Cullberg Ballet.

His first dance performance came to light three years after he became part of the Cullberg Ballet. A couple of years later, he directed "The House of Bernarda Alba," a production that clearly defined and formulated his interests. Ek was not interested in airy castles or fairytale characters; he wanted to address social problems and the contemporary world.

In 1982, "Giselle" was born. The performance made Ek internationally renowned and continues to provoke debates, anger, and shock even after half a century since its inception. In this version, Giselle became an innocent fool, and in the second act, instead of an otherworldly realm, there is a completely earthly madhouse.

While proficient in the classical style and deeply respectful of the global ballet heritage, Ek does not believe he has the right to make revisions to old ballets. Instead, he composes his own, believing that the music and basic canvas of the plots are common assets that can be used not only without harming the classics but also offering new life and perspectives.

Throughout his choreographic career, Ek has worked or continues to work with various ballet companies, including the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in The Hague, the Norwegian National Opera Ballet, the Opéra national de Lyon, the Opéra national de Paris, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Zurich Opera House in Switzerland, The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in London, the Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and his production "The Apartment" was successful at the Bolshoi Theatre.

In 2016, Ek announced his retirement and stated that his ballets would go with him, as nobody would be able to control them as the author did. However, fortunately, he changed his mind a few years later and continues to delight his audience with his performances.