AUF DEUTSCH

LILLIAN STILLWELL is a choreographer of interdisciplinary, participatory and immersive productions whose work has been seen throughout Europe and in the USA since 2009 at theaters and opera houses including Theater Basel, Oper Graz, the Royal Danish Opera, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and at numerous city, state and national theaters in Germany. She is the designated Dance Director at Theater Münster, Germany beginning in Season 2022/2023.

She has choreographed many large-scale music theater productions with casts of over 100 Performers such as Leonard Bernstein’s MASS and Purcell’s THE FAIRY QUEEN, both at Theater Lübeck;  the opera L’ORFEO at the Royal Danish Opera, called “a production of European ranking” by Oper Heute magazine; SILBERLICHT, a dance duet with a baroque string quartet commissioned by Philharmonie Luxembourg; and the upcoming immersive dance and live DJ production AFTERLIFE.

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 with choreographers including Pam Tanowitz, Alexandra Beller, Shapiro & Smith and Emily Johnson / Catalyst in the USA and Jozef Frucek & Linda Kapatanea, Yossi Berg & Oded Graf and Stefanie Tiersch in Europe followed. From 2005 – 2012 she danced with Johannes Wieland in New York City and at the State Theater in Kassel, Germany where she also choreographed in all of the departments: Opera, Theater, Dance and Youth Theater.

The end of her dance career catalyzed a re-evaluation of the aesthetic hierarchies dominating performative dance.  Since then, cultivating responsiveness and connection through dance is central to her approach. Additional interests lie in opening and demystifying the creation process, using the performing arts to answer urgent questions and applying ditigal tools to analogue experiences.

Lillian lives in Basel, Switzerland where she founded SNOW productions in 2020 with Tom Ryser as a research and production laboratory. Recent residencies have taken them to Dampfzentrale Bern and Braswell Art Center and their Digital / Analogue Pop-ups in Basel were featured at zur Wand by Swiss cultural tastemakers wiewaersmalmit.ch. She 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).

Her current work includes an opera trilogy at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam, the opening production of the Alte Reithalle at the Bühne Aarau in Switzerland and AFTERLIFE by SNOW productions, an immersive dance and live-DJ performance at the coolest, still-secret performance venue in Basel. She is currently studying for an Executive Masters in Arts Administration at the University of Zürich.

Collaborators: Intitutions, Dancers, Teams, Choreographers
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Lillian Dancing Photos

Press

Interview with Lillian Stillwell and Tom Ryser, wiewaersmalmit.ch, Swiss cultural Tastemakers
…a completely new musictheater experience has been created here 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 Lübeck (2020)

It was a richly varied array of images that changed scenes between the theater,  the island,  the museum and cathedral and out of town.“ Hl-live, ALIVE! SAISONSCHLUSS_20 / Theater Lübeck (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)