California-born Carolyn Carlson defines herself first and foremost as a nomad. From San Francisco Bay to the University of Utah, from the Alwin Nikolais company in New York to Anne Béranger’s in France, from Paris Opera Ballet to Teatrodanza La Fenice in Venice, from the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris to Helsinki, from Ballet Cullberg to La Cartoucherie in Paris, from the Venice Biennale to Roubaix, Carlson is a tireless traveller, always seeking to develop and share her poetic universe.
She arrived in France in 1971 the beneficiary of Alwin Nikolaïs’ ideas about movement, composition and teaching. The following year, with Rituel pour un rêve mort, she wrote a poetic manifesto that defined an approach to her work that she has adhered to ever since: dance that is strongly oriented towards philosophy and spirituality. Carlson prefers the term ‘visual poetry’ to ‘choreography’ to describe her work.
For four decades, Carlson has had significant influence and success in many European countries. She played a key role in the birth of French and Italian contemporary dance through the GRTOP (theatre research group) at Paris Opera Ballet and Teatrodanza at La Fenice. She has created over 100 pieces, a large number of which are landmarks in the history of dance, including Density 21.5, The Year of the Horse, Blue Lady, Steppe, Maa, Signes, Writings on Water and Inanna. In 2006, her work was rewarded with the first ever Golden Lion given to a choreographer by the Venice Biennale.
Founder of the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson at the Cartoucherie in 1999, she was associated artist to Théâtre National de Chaillot with the Carolyn Carlson Company from 2014 to 2016. In 2017, besides touring her repertoire, the choreographer explores new forms of creations: an exhibition for museums, a full-length dance movie for cinema… In 2019 she became a French citizen and the following year she was elected at the French Academy of Fine Arts, in the choreography section.
Soloist in the Alwin Nikolaïs Company
Etoile-Chorégraphe (‘Star Choreographer’) at Paris Opera Ballet (GRTOP)
Artistic director of Teatrodanza La Fenice, Venice
Residence at the Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
Residence at the Finnish National Ballet and Helsinki City Theatre
Artistic director of Ballet Cullberg, Stockholm
Artistic director of the dance section at the Venice Biennale
Founder and honorary President of the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson
Director of the National Choreographic Centre Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais
Artistic director of the Carolyn Carlson Company