I am curious about the change of the name?
Gabriel Smeets explains how this soon occurred as a problem in the public view of the company that was now in transition. In his opinion, the word” ballet” leads the thoughts to a technique. And that is not what they are doing.
He believes that the content is far more important than the technique itself, but often is dominating. You must know what kind of dance you want to show, defining what company you want to be.
Furthermore, the use of only the name “Cullberg” was already common among people. Research was done, media and programmers informed. In the end it never became a big question.
One example of confusion was in a collaboration with hip hop artist Yung Lean. The press wrote that he was writing music for a ballet! Mr. Smeets emphasizes this was absolutely never the intention.
Following this story, I would like to know how Cullberg relates today to the family name Cullberg as in the company's founder Birgit and her tradition?
Gabriel Smeets wants to be clear about that they work in her spirits. He says, Birgit said dance changes all the time because it is rooted in the time we live in, which he totally agrees with. The Cullberg is trying to do this by bringing in works that has not been done before by others.
Birgit Cullberg also made it important with a social and political content as well as a feminist aspect in what she was exploring in her works. She started in the tradition of Kurt Jooss, who was a great inspiration of hers. This is another deep component in her artistry that the company tries to involve into the future.
The repertory today contents no works from earlier days.About the choreographies Mr. Smeets answers:
One reason is that Mats Ek [Birgits son] as her inheritor, but clearly in his own style, is still performing his works. It is logical for the Cullberg take their own path. That means, look at what is covered on stages and what is notthere.
In Gabriel Smeets point of view, it can be compared with Visual Art. He explains: If I had an art museum and I see Giselle by Mats Ek or Sharon Eyal for example, they can be seen in many places, but what is missing? Mr Smeets asks himself why Cullberg should do the same things that are already served people in dance art, and he thinks no.
From these thoughts came the idea to invite Deborah Hay, who had never been represented by a big professional company.
He continues: Jefta van Dinther is another choreographer that is really ready to do pieces on big stages for large audiences, and so is Alma Söderberg.