The choreographies of Alexander Ekman (Stockholm, 1984) are striking in their imaginative sense of humour and their masterful timing. But despite the hilarious quality of (parts of) his creations, they demand the utmost concentration from the dancers and an almost military precision in their execution. Because, as Ekman has a dancer say in one of his works: ‘If one of us messes up, the magic is gone.’
Ekman sets himself the goal of making choreographies with which a wide public can identify, dealing with issues that pretty much everyone feels affected by. “When I start creating a new work I always ask myself: why should this piece be made, where’s the necessity?” In addition he always aims to create a special atmosphere in the theatre and he wants to keep surprising his audience. At first sight his creations are, above all, entertaining but Ekman also likes to hold up a mirror to his audience – he makes people think about their own behaviour.
In the 2015/2016 season Ekman made his debut at Introdans with the swinging Swingle Sisters, one of his early works with which he immediately won two prizes at the International Choreography Competition in Hanover. However, the young Swede has actually had a much longer relationship with the Netherlands. After first having worked at the Royal Swedish Ballet, he danced with Nederlands Dans Theater 2 from 2002 to 2005. This was also where his choreographic career got started: during the annual NDT choreography workshop Switch he quickly came to attention with his idiosyncratic and humorous style. Since then he has made various works for both NDT2 and NDT 1, including the hit production Cacti that was nominated for a Zwaan award and won an Oliver Award.
In 2005 Ekman continued his career as a dancer with a move to the Swedish Cullberg Ballet, but after just a year he decided to concentrate fully on choreography. Currently he is one of the most internationally sought-after choreographers. Since 2006 he has not only created works for the Nederlands Dans Theater but also for the Cullberg Ballet, Göteborg Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, National Ballet of Norway, the Spanish Compañía Nacional de Danza, Iceland Dance Company, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, the Royal Ballet Flanders, Ballet Bern, Vienna State Ballet, Gauthier Dance; the Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance in the United States; the Sydney Dance Company in Australia and the Balé da Cidade de São Paulo in Brazil. And even this list is not exhaustive. Ekman himself composes the music for many of his productions and he also creates the stage design and/or video projections. He has also made a number of dance films.