Mats Ek Carmen

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This essay will analyze and discuss one of Europe's most creative and influential dance-makers, the Swedish dancer and choreographer Mats Ek; acclaimed for the theatricality and immediacy of his work while his contribution and development through the dance field with the main focus on his revision of the classical ballet stories. It will also discuss one of his major works Carmen and relate it with the original one. Mats Ek is a prominent and controversial figure of the contemporary dance. He has his own choreographic style and his work in contemporary dance choreography is contested. He was born in 1945. Eks mother, and his big influence, was the famous dancer and choreographer Birgit Cullberg, the founder of the world wide recognized, Cullberg Ballet Company. As said before, his mother was a huge influence for Ek. Therefore one can see that both, Mats Ek and Birgit Cullberg, choreographic style has a lot of same characteristics such as the attention of psychological characterization, the sensitive portrayal of humans feelings and the humorous episodes. “In performance we see a fantasy world so unwaveringly strange and characters so imperiously dysfunctional we're genuinely compelled... Ek may ask his dancers to go to some very odd places but the Cullberg Ballet follows him with ardent alacrity” (Judith Mackrell, the Guardian.)

In 1974–5, Ek was a member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf, and then made his choreographic debut in 1976 with The Officer’s Servant, for the Cullberg Ballet, the first of many of his works formed on them. In 1980 he became the artistic director of the Ballet Cullberg and a member of the Nederland’s Dance Theatre. He also worked and created pieces with many great dance companies. Mats Ek in well known for his revisionist versions of the classic ballets. He has also created his own work and most of the time his pieces have to do a lot with humor. However in reworking ballet classics, Ek likes to keep the characters alive so as to always provide an inner emotion to the characters emotions and contrasts. The characters in his pieces,in contrast to the classic ones, have an emotional world of much more intense than usually and the relationship between them has a greater depth. Although he is revising the original pieces, he never forgets to stay true to the original context of the work and as far as the music is concerned he always uses the original one with very slight changes only to suit the new dramatic structure. Mats Eks key word, is clarity, despite the fact that he aims for clarity, this does not imply that he also uses simplicity in his pieces. “I was never interested in keeping to the classical traditions as such, What I want to explore are the underlying fairy tales that convey fundamental human issues love, deceit, pain, goodness. The classics have become clichés, and we have forgotten how they came to be and what they imply. We know them so well; they cease to have meaning for our time.” (Mats Ek) Mats Ek is very often labeled that he relates his choreographies with the politics of the time that the choreographies are being made. This is not however right because none of Mr. Eks choreographies can be regarded as a political manifesto. In his pieces, the strong images and the dramatic situations will occasionally lead into humorous episodes. Humor, is one of Eks main characteristics throughout his pieces and as mentioned previously in the report so is his mother’s. By using humor in his dances, this does not mean that the pieces lose their tension.Since Mats Ek also studied theatre, most of the time his creations are a lot more dramatic than usual and this can be detected in every one of his pieces (Fifty Contemporary Choreographers, Pages 144-146). “Ek has a vivid theatricality and gift for genuine surprises... his theatricality is matched by a full-out dance language that merges the sophisticated with the primitive. I became aware of just how much meaning Ek can compress...
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