Photo by Knut Bry, Courtesy Strømgren

BalletX Brings Jo Strømgren to Philly

Jo Strømgren may not be a household name for stateside balletomanes (yet), but his work has been performed by dozens of dance, theater and opera companies throughout Europe. He's currently the associate choreographer at Norwegian National Ballet and directs his own dance-theater troupe, Jo Strømgren Kompani. Pointe spoke with this major force in European dance before his February 10 premiere at Philadelphia's BalletX.

How would you characterize your work?


I like the term "cinematic" and the idea of taking people on a journey. You have to get the pitch and the main characters within the first few minutes. The audience has to understand, and once they get comfortable in their seats you can take them somewhere really strange.

How do you bring your ideas to life?

Early on in my career, I thought the art business meant saying something about life and death. But as I got older, I realized that I needed to simplify. I'll take a small detail or an insignificant symbol that's part of something larger. Then you can layer a story around it.

What are you like in the studio?

I never write anything down, and I don't really take notes or use video. It's not necessarily trendy right now to work without collaborators, but it allows you to twist and adjust as much as you'd like.

How do you work with new dancers?

I don't use my own technique or any kind of codified body language. I'm not a perfectionist in that way. It means I end up lacking a little bit of a signature, but it's nice to use as many tools as possible.

What's interesting about classically trained dancers?

Classical technique looks fantastic from afar. When I rehearse classical dancers, I imagine how the choreography will look from the last row of the theater because they know how to project.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Promotes Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz to Principal; 8 Others Say Farewell

Last week, Ballet West announced that first soloists Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz have been promoted to principal artist. The news marks a historic moment for the company.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Eighteen-year-old Sarah Patterson (foreground), with her classmates at New Ballet School. She's decided to stay home this summer to take advantage of outdoor, in-person classes. Courtesy New Ballet School.

Why Planning Summer Study This Year Is More Complicated Than Ever

When it comes to navigating summer intensives, 2021 may be more complicated for ballet students than last year. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic's spring spike in 2020, summer programs went all-virtual or had very limited capacity. This year is more of a mixed bag, with regulations and restrictions varying widely across state and county lines and changing week by week.

Between vaccines and variants, can students aim for a full calendar of intensive training at local and national summer programs?

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks