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Gabriel Smeets new artistic director of Cullberg Ballet

On his current position Gabriel Smeet has transformed the school in a 4 years-program for choreography and managed to provide the SNDO with a strong position in the international field of performing arts education. Alumni from the SNDO present their works in the international performing arts festivals and venues. He has a background in journalism and communication, as well as a dramaturge. He is active as a mentor and curator of panels and symposiums in the field of dance. He has been the interim chief curator of the festival programming at the Springdance Festival in Utrecht.

“I am very excited and I look forward to this important position. I come to a company with a rich legacy and I am very proud to take an active part of its future. Under my artistic leadership, Cullberg Ballet will continue being one of the most important players in the international dance field. We will work with new talents and more profoundly with the audience, keeping a strong international profile as well as developing our presence in Sweden. We will define the company’s identity, and develop and keep the art form dance alive for centuries to come”, says Gabriel Smeets, the new artistic director of Cullberg Ballet.

“Gabriel Smeets is firmly anchored on the international dance scene, and with his experience, knowledge, ideas and network he is ideal for the future development of Cullberg Ballet and the mission to mirror our time”, says Mia Larsson, Managing Director of Riksteatern’s Dance Department.

Gabriel Smeets – background
Gabriel Smeets was born in The Netherlands 1958. He studied visual arts and arts journalism. Since 2006 he has the position as the artistic director of the SNDO, the School for New Dance Development under the umbrella of The Amsterdam School of the Arts/Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam.

From 2000 until 2006 he was the dance editor for the Dutch monthly magazine TM (Theatermaker). As a dramaturge he created works with the Dutch theatre company Paralyse D’Amour, choreographer Krisztina de Chatel, visual artist Marina Abramovic, fashion designer Aziz Bekkaoui and director/choreographer Ibrahim Quraishi.

In 2006 he developed in close collaboration with co-mentor Ibrahim Quraishi, a 10 weeks educational model called “The Political Body” at DasArts, the Amsterdam School for Advanced Research on Theater & Dance. Smeets is also the co-author of Why all these questions? published in 2003 (Theatre Institute of the Netherlands) a book he created in close collaboration with Simon Dove.

In 2004, Smeets developed and produced with Dansgroep Krisztina de Chatel a symposium called How Much Body Does Dance Need? for the Amsterdam forum De Balie. In 2005 Gabriel Smeets received the Dutch Foundation for the Performing Arts Award as a fellow with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University in New York. As a curator he developed a series of panels on the state of contemporary dance called Dance Unwrapped for The Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) in New York in 2006.

In July 2006, Smeets was the mentor for the Spring Dance Dialogue in Moscow between choreographers from New York, Moscow and Amsterdam. In April 2008 Smeets was the interim artistic director of the Springdance festival Utrecht. In 2009 and 2011 Smeets was invited by choreographer Germaine Acogny to teach at her Ecole des Sables in Senegal workshops on concept development. Here he worked with 24 young choreographers from all over Africa.

For more information and appointments for interviews, please contact:
Erica Espling, Marketing and PR manager, Cullberg Ballet, +46-70-602 27 01

More information and press photos are available at

Cullberg Ballet
Cullberg Ballet has performed all over the world and is an important element in the international presentation of Swedish culture. The company also engages in national outreach through its tours within Sweden. The company collaborates with a variety of national and international choreographers and performing artists who create works for large as well as small stages. Cullberg Ballet’s activities encompass projects and productions including site specific appearances and collaboration with dance training programs. Cullberg Ballet was founded by Birgit Cullberg in 1967 under the auspices of Riksteatern. The company currently has 15 dancers from nearly as many countries. Since its inception, the stage personalities and technical strength of its dancers have been Cullberg Ballet’s defining characteristics. Cullberg Ballet is part of Riksteatern, Sweden’s National Touring Theatre.