LILLIAN STILLWELL has choreographed throughout Europe and in the USA since 2009. She is the designated Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer at Theater Münster, Germany beginning in the 2022/23 season. Her Basel-based Company SNOW productions recently celebrated sold-out performances of her immersive dance evening AFTERLIFE in a former lighthouse ship on the banks of the Rhein River.

Lillian’s choreography combines physical and emotional extremes with precise musicality. She understands dance as connection. 

Beyond choreography, she is interested in opening and demystifying the creation process, developing sustainable working, production and performance methods and investigating new forms of dance leadership.

Her work includes dance evenings as well as interdisciplinary, participatory and immersive productions, many with casts of over 100 performers. She has choreographed productions such as Leonard Bernstein’s MASS and Purcell’s THE FAIRY QUEEN at Theater Lübeck;  L’ORFEO at the Royal Danish Opera, called “a production of European ranking” by Oper Heute magazine; SILBERLICHT for dance and baroque musicians at Philharmonie Luxembourg; and the recent opening of the newly renovated „Alte Reithalle“ for Bühne Aarau in Switzerland. She is currently studying for an Executive Masters in Arts Administration at the University of Zürich.

Lillian grew up in Minneapolis, MN, received her classical training at Ballet Arts Minnesota and the Milwaukee Ballet, and completed a BA in contemporary dance at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  A 15-year dance career followed, lastly from 2005 – 2012 with Johannes Wieland in New York City and at the State Theater in Kassel, Germany, where she also choreographed in each of the theater’s departments (Opera, Theater, Dance, Youth Theater).

Since then, her work has been seen at Theater Basel, Oper Graz, the Royal Danish Opera, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and at numerous city, state and national theaters throughout Germany. In 2020 she founded SNOW productions in Switzerland with Tom Ryser as a dance research and production laboratory with all-local artists and collaborators. They have been artists in residence at Dampfzentrale Bern and Braswell Art Center, created 100% Basel Pop-Up Events and have received generous support by SwissLos Fonds Basel-Stadt and numerous foundations.

 

Lillian has taught dance and choreography at the University of Minnesota Dance Program, ­St. Olaf College and TU Dance Company and School (USA) as well as at Choreolab Europe and Profitraining Basel (Switzerland).  She is currently working on productions at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet and Oper Zürich and with her company SNOW productions while she prepares for her upcoming leadership position at Theater Münster.

Collaborators  

Institutions, Dancers, Teams & Choreographers Lillian has worked with

Interview with Lillian Stillwell
on Leadership, Parenting and Dance for

www.re-dance.work
by Katelyn Skelley

More about Tanz-Company Theater Münster 2022/23
designated Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer Lillian Stillwell

 

 

PRESS

Interview with Lillian Stillwell and Tom Ryser by wiewaersmalmit.ch

Interview with Lillian Stillwell
on Leadership, Parenting and Dance for www.re-dance.work, by Katelyn Skelley
 
 
Read More Press Below
— a completely new music theater experience has been created by Jochen Biganzoli, Milo Pablo Momm, Tom Ryser and Lillian Stillwell, each of them an alpha director.  The differences between the individual signatures harmonize wonderfully. shz, ALIVE! SAISONSCHLUSS_20 / Theater Luubeck (2020)
Of European ranking…here in Copenhagen they sing with tendness and grace, effortlessly choreographed by Lillian Stillwell to fit the singers like a glove.
Opernwelt, L’ORFEO / Royal Danish Opera (2020)
Effervescent, at times ecstatic, and delicately sensitive, Lillian Stillwell has found a movement language in which nothing seems extraneous. Everything happens naturally, unfolding out of the context of the story.
Musicalzentrale, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR / Theater Basel (2016)
This is no run-of-the-mill musical choreography but true dance theater. Lillian Stillwell choreographs with a ferocious appetite for various movement styles. The opening song after the intermission “Too Darned Hot” flies into a frenzy and builds to the scorching high point….Wunderbar!
Musicals Magazine, KISS ME KATE / Staatstheater Kassel (2015)
Kinky choreography by Lillian Stillwell.
Weser-Kurier, LAZARUS / Theater Bremen (2018)
Choreographer Lillian Stillwell and director Tom Ryser integrate opera and dance astoundingly.  The four dancers on pointe create a second dimension through their otherworldly gestures, which makes the spiritual aspects of the ritual visible. On the other end of the spectrum, the Street-Chorus lets loose with breakdance.
neuemusikzeitung, MASS / Theater Lübeck (2017)
The connecting element of the entire artistically well-crafted and buoyant result is Lillian Stillwell’s modern choreography.
Kieler Nachrichten, THE FAIRY QUEEN / Theater Lübeck (2015)
Nominierung: Choreographin des Jahres
Musicals Magazin, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR / Thetaer Basel (2016)
The choreography by Lillian Stillwell is a highlight of the production. The dance ensemble is brilliantly erotic and acrobatic. Fred’s dresser Pat throws down a wicked solo and the strong Opera Chorus also swings along strongly.
HNA, KISS ME KATE / Staatstheater Kassel (2015)
Their choreography, created by Lillian Stillwell, incorporates martial arts and other elements in the most elegant way. The disciplines are brought together astoundingly naturally.
Hamburger Feuilleton, THE FAIRY QUEEN / Theater Lübeck (2015)
Lillian Stillwell has developed choreography that could be described as classical ballet with modern elements, to wonderful effect. The four dancers could be described most accurately as God’s Ideas.
Ihr Opernfreund, MASS / Theater Lübeck (2017)
The fantastic choreography by Lillian Stillwell transforms the groove of the music into movement: she lets the Theater Basel chorus and Münster Gospelchoir loose as a pulsing mass, uses a couple of them as arm-waving Backup-Girls, engages acrobatic dancers and choreographs a wonderful tap-dance number for King Herod.
Tageswoche Basel, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR / Theater Basel (2016)
The program quotes Wsewolod Meyerhold: The actor in a musical drama must recognize the essence of the score and translate all of its subtleties into his movement language. That succeeds outstandingly under the Movement Direction by Lillian Stillwell.
Göttinger Tageblatt, THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES / Staatstheater Kassel (2016)
One just can’t get enough of the exhilarating chorus scenes choreographed by Lillian Stillwell.
NDR, SUNSET BOULEVARD / Theater Lübeck (2016)
The choreography by Lillian Stillwell deserves special praise. Her expressive dance images contribute significantly to the overall totally convincing and coherent interpretation. In this production, the successful musical is not just reproduced, it is taken seriously.
Musicals Magazine, EVITA / Staatstheater Kassel (2013)