New@Graham: a conversation with Pontus Lidberg

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A Conversation with Pontus Lidberg

April 6, 2017 – 7:00pm

Join us for a conversation with filmmaker/choreographer Pontus Lidberg,
a sneak peek at his new film Written on Water starring Aurélie Dupont,
with excerpts danced live by Kaitlyn Gilliland and Christopher Adams, and
a showing of Woodland, featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company.

a reception follows the event, courtesy of the Consulate General of Sweden

Martha Graham Studio Theater
55 Bethune Street, 11th floor

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door
and include a complimentary glass of wine.

Purchase Tickets

Pontus Lidberg is a Swedish choreographer, filmmaker and dancer, most recognized for his film The Rain for which he received numerous awards around the world. As a choreographer for the stage, Mr. Lidberg has created more than 35 works for major international dance companies, such as Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, SemperOper Ballet Dresden, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Royal Swedish Ballet, Morphoses, and for his own group Pontus Lidberg Dance.

Written on Water, directed by Pontus Lidberg, is an impossible love story about a choreographer reigniting an encounter from the past. This unique 70-minute narrative features French dancer Aurélie Dupont in the leading role. Dance provides both the mechanical and poetic framework for the plot: the choreography of an original dance piece that is being developed inside a theater mirrors the emotional experiences of the film’s characters outside the theater. Water—waves, the ocean, and rain—emerges as the visual motif that weaves together the dance and the scenes outside the theater, creating a visceral meditation on the impermanence of human existence and relationships, as well as the element of chaos inherent in both the creative process and romantic love.

Woodland (2016) takes Irving Fine’s music as a departure point, rather than beginning with a concept. I heard structure as well as possible imagery: woodland, moonlight, and wandering creatures. I wanted to interact with the music, not just impose choreography on it, so I chose to reorder the movements and add a repeat, turning a linear work into one that is almost cyclical—a structure that I’ve explored continuously. I often take inspiration and impetus from the dancers, and the Graham dancers have been a generous and inspiring group of collaborators. Woodland was developed in collaboration with them. In the end, as in many of my works, the individual is a counterpoint to the group—somewhat isolated and looking to connect with others, all the while remaining separated on a singular trajectory. —PONTUS LIDBERG

Guest Dancers

Kaitlyn Gilliland, Dancer, trained with Loyce and Lise Houlton at Minnesota Dance Theatre before moving to New York at age 16 to train with School of American Ballet. From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Gilliland danced with New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet, performing corps, soloist, and principal roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Eliot Feld, Douglas Lee, Peter Martins, Angelin Preljocaj, and Christopher Wheeldon. She was the New York City Ballet’s Janice Levin Dancer Honoree in 2010. Since leaving NYCB, Ms. Gilliland has appeared with BalletNext, BalletCollective, Ballet Tech, Emery LeCrone Dance, Intermezzo Dance Company, Trainor Dance, and the Minnesota Dance Theatre. She is currently on the faculty at the School of American Ballet and a senior at Columbia University.

Christopher Adams, Dancer, is currently a member of Zvidance, Susan Marshall and Company, and Pontus Lidberg Dance. Christopher and his brother Warren Adams just finished their work on Harambe Nights The Lion King: Concert in the Wild at Walt Disney World Orlando. Past credits include Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, where he had the opportunity to perform works by Didy Veldman, Jill Johnson, Stijin Celis, and Ohad Naharin. He has performed in productions at the Metropolitan Opera from 2009 to present. He was Associate Choreographer and Dancer in Magdalena at Theatre du Chatelet Paris in 2010. He has worked with Ballet X, Sidra Bell and Compagnie Julie Bour. Christopher Adams trained at the Toynbee Ballet School and the National School of the Arts in South Africa. He performed with the South African Ballet Theatre and received the Linbury scholarship to study at the Rambert School in London.

About the Graham Studio Series

Graham Studio Series - new

The Martha Graham Dance Company welcomes guests, patrons and fans into its West Village studios for intimate performances along with a glass of wine. The 2016-2017 Season the Company will host eleven performances, under the themes: GrahamDeconstructed, NEW@Graham, and Shoot the Dancers. For the first time ever, we have made the full Studio Series available as a season package.


A unique opportunity to view great Graham works up close and hear about the artistic and historical context of their creation from Artistic Director Janet Eilber. The program offers a glimpse of the artistic labor that goes on every day at the Martha Graham studios to preserve and augment Martha Graham’s great legacy.


Introducing the audience to the Company’s newest commissions, by offering a sneak-peek of the work before its premiere. After each performance, Artistic Director Janet Eilber hosts a conversation with the commissioned choreographer and the audience.

Shoot the Dancers

Audiences are invited to learn the secrets behind the images of leading dance photographers. Following a conversation with the artists, the Company takes the stage. The audience is invited to take out their own cameras and catch the Graham dancers in motion.

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Film still courtesy of Pontus Lidberg.