The Cullberg Ballet is founded, under the auspices of Riksteatern, by Birgit Cullberg, even then a prominent choreographer who has staged ballets in Chile, Iran, Poland, the Soviet Union, the UK and the US. The company comprises eight of the world’s top dancers, from Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, the US and Yugoslavia. The founding philosophy is that all the dancers are to be considered soloists and therefore receive the same pay. Dancers earn a monthly salary of SEK 2,000 plus daily allowance.The company builds up a repertoire of works by Birgit Cullberg and guest choreographers.
The Cullberg ensemble is contracted to the new TV channel TV2 for a year. The company features in the channel’s opening night and during the 1969/70 season several ballet programmes are produced, with Red wine in green glasses attracting the most attention. Chroma-key technology creates new visual effects, allowing the dancers to move “inside” an oil painting, for example. This revolutionary approach sees the programme win the Prix Italia in 1971.The Cullberg Ballet is also awarded a gold medal for the best foreign ballet at that year’s Paris Autumn Festival.
The Cullberg Ballet moves to a permanent home on Stockholm’s Jungfrugatan. Until now the company has moved from place to place, spending one memorable winter rehearsing at Gröna Lund where the building was so cold that huge fan heaters had to be brought in.
The Cullberg Ballet is a major international success, giving fourteen performances in London and twenty in Paris the following year. In the space of a few years the company has attained a leading position in the world of dance.
Mats Ek choreographs his first work for the Cullberg Ballet, The Officer’s Servant. He also produces Soweto and St. George and the Dragon, in which he dances the main role.
Mats Ek’s major breakthrough as a choreographer comes with The House of Bernarda, a phenomenal success. The work is based on Federico García Lorca’s play The House of Bernarda Alba.
Mats Ek creates his masterpiece Giselle, which has been performed by the Cullberg Ballet more than 300 times in 28 countries.
Mats Ek takes over as artistic director. This does not mean any major changes for the company as Ek has been choreographing ballets for the Cullberg Ballet for several years.
Mats Ek produces his own version of Swan Lake, to great public acclaim.
Birgit Cullberg creates her last work for the Cullberg Ballet at the age of 79.
The Cullberg Ballet moves from Jungfrugatan to the Riksteatern headquarters in Hallunda
Carolyn Carlson takes over as artistic director when Mats Ek steps down. Carolyn introduces improvisation, largely a new departure for the company.
Lena Wennergren-Juras, a member of the company since its inauguration, and Margareta Lidström (dancer from the Royal Swedish Opera) take over as artistic directors. The collaborative relationship with Mats Ek continues, and other guest choreographers are also invited to create works for the company.
Choreographer Johan Inger takes over as artistic director. Johan Inger leaves the position in 2008.
Anna Grip takes over as artistic director.