In the studio this week with Choreographer Pontus Lidberg

Pontus Lidberg has been making dances for stage and film since 2000. Most recently, Lidberg produced WITHIN (Labyrinth Within), during his tenure as Resident Artistic Director of Morphoses. In this staged expansion around his award-winning film, Labyrinth Within, Lidberg unravels charged relationships, revealing the complex and contradictory desires that emerge when communication between lovers is strained. Set to an original composition from David Lang, WITHIN premiered in June 2012 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Beckett, MA) followed by a five-city tour in Sweden and a run at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Dance critic Claudia La Rocco applauded the premiere of this contemporary story ballet “told without mime and driven by emotional and psychological textures… [Lidberg] sublimates the academic language of ballet, dissolving it into knotty partnering that manages, by and large, to avoid the churning clichés of much contemporary movement in the form. It is refreshing to see a ballet embracing the virtues of restraint.”

Since 2000, Lidberg has been commissioned to develop new works for several international dance companies, including SemperOper Ballet Dresden (2013); Oregon Ballet Theatre (2013); Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève (2012); the Royal Swedish Ballet (2012); the Royal Danish Ballet (2010); Beijing Dance Theater (2009); Vanemuine Theatre Ballet Company of Estonia (2010); Norwegian National Ballet (2005); Vietnam National Opera Ballet (2007, 2009) and Stockholm 59° North (2000, 2001, 2009). In 2003, he formed Pontus Lidberg Dance to support the development and production of his independent projects.

Under the auspices of Pontus Lidberg Dance, he has developed two films and four dance works for the stage. His most recent film, Labyrinth Within (2011), which features New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan and a score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, received the Court Métrange du Jury prize at the Court-Métrange Film Festival in Rennes, France (2011) and won Best Picture at the Dance on Camera Festival in New York (2012). His film The Rain (2007), received numerous awards, including Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Film, 2008 Choreography Media Honors, Los Angeles (USA); Best Film, Best Cinematography, LIDFF London International Dance Film Festival (UK); Golden Reel: Best Dance Short, Tiburon International Film Festival (USA); Special Mention, Goteborg International Film Festival (Sweden) and was nominated for a Rose d’Or (Luzerne, Switzerland). In addition, Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times praised Lidberg’s use of crosscutting techniques, writing “Memorably The Rain illustrates what filmed dance can say that staged dance cannot.” Lidberg’s first work for the camera, Mirror (2003), was commissioned by Swedish National Television and has been screened on television as well as in dance film festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

For the stage, Pontus Lidberg Dance has presented SNOW (2013); Warriors (2010) to an original score by Swedish composer B Tommy Anderson and Faune (2011), which premiered at the Fall for Dance Festival (NYC). His first full-evening length work for Pontus Lidberg Dance, Duet for Dancer and Pianist (2004), premiered at the Dance Museum of Stockholm and toured throughout Sweden, Estonia, and France.

Pontus Lidberg has received support for his choreographic work from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The Field (2011, 2012, 2014), Jerome Robbins Foundation (2010), The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation (2010), and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Foundation (2010), as well as multiple grants from the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. He has received awards and honors from The Vilcek Foundation/Prize for Creative Promise in Dance (2012), the NOKIA Award for Young Talent (2001), the Stockholm Cultural Scholarship (2001). In addition, he has been in creative residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts (2008), Joyce Soho (2010), and the Baryshnikov Arts Center (2010). He held a 2012-2013 Choreography Fellowship from New York City Center and a 2013 Blodgett Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, co-sponsored by Harvard University’s Department of Music.
Raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Lidberg began training in 1987 with the Royal Swedish Ballet School. From 1996-2003, he danced with The Royal Swedish Ballet, The Norwegian National Ballet, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, and The Göteborg Ballet. He holds an MFA in Contemporary Performative Arts from the University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts.

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