Lillian Stillwell’s choreography aims to reveal the structural and emotional content of music through movement. Whether baroque, modern, electronic or operatic, the choreographic form and content are intertwined with the musical composition itself.
Since 2013 Lillian Stillwell has choreographed opera, dance, musical, theater and interdisciplinary productions at Theater Basel in Switzerland, Opera Graz in Austria, the Philharmonie Luxembourg, the National Theater of Mannheim and State Theaters in Lübeck, Saarbrücken, Heidelberg, Bremen and Kassel in Germany and in the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in Minnesota.
Inspiration is found in mass movements, the emergence of the individual from the group, semi-conscious states triggered by sleep, prayer or trance and structural forms found in architecture, nature and the human body. Rhythm is at the center of the movement exploration: musical rhythm, physical rhythm and rhythm as a force for societal change.
Lillian Stillwell received her classical training at Ballet Arts Minnesota and the Milwaukee Ballet and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Minnesota. As a dancer, Lillian Stillwell was active for 15 years in Minneapolis, New York City and Germany, performing and touring with Emily Johnson, Shapiro & Smith, Alexandra Beller, Pam Tanowitz, Gerald Casel, Josef Frucek / Linda Kapatanea, Yosef Berg & Oded Graf, Stephanie Tiersch, Evangelos Poulinas, Merixtell Checa Esteban and from 2005 – 2012 with Johannes Wieland. She began dancing for Wieland in NYC and continued with him at the State Theater in Kassel, Germany for six seasons. In Kassel she also performed in musicals and operettas and received her first choreographic commissions for opera and theater productions.
In 2015 she choreographed Leonard Bernstein’s MASS at Theater Lübeck with over 150 singers, dancers and actors and children. In 2016 she was nominated for Best Choreography by Musicals Magazine for Jesus Christ Superstar at Theater Basel. In 2017 she was a guest choreographer at Choreolab Basel, focusing her workshop on choreographic methods to integrate movement, content and the voice. In 2019 she conceived and choreographed SILBERLICHT for two dancers and the Baroque Ensemble Diderot at the Philharmoine Luxembourg. She recently founded Dance Jam Berlin, a forum for movement research and community building in a non-competitive environment, and begun teaching Improvisation at Braswell Arts Center in Basel.
In her new production AFTERLIFE, she takes a step away from the large-scale productions she has created since 2013 to create an intimate duet to be performed in club settings. The piece uses the atmosphere of the club and electronic music performed by a live dj to explore themes of spiritual friendship, sudden death and the longing for immortality.
In the coming season her work can also be seen in CORO FANTASTICO, a new interactive music theater production for choruses and dancers at Theater Heidelberg in Germany.
She lives in Basel.