Born April 18, 1945, in Malmö, Sweden, Mats Ek is the son of renowned choreographer Birgit Culberg and actor Anders Ek.
After studying dance and theatre, he began his career as a director at Stockholm's Marionette Theatre and Royal Dramatic Theatre. In 1973, he joined the Cullberg Ballet as a dancer before turning to choreography in 1976. His earliest ballets, including Soweto and The House of Bernarda Alba (based on the novel by Federico García Lorca), brought him international recognition. The ensuing original works he created for the company helped establish him as one of the most interesting artists in contemporary dance.
Mr. Ek succeeded his mother as the Cullberg's Artistic Director from 1985 to 1993. His subsequent remakes of classical works-particularly Giselle (1982), The Rite of Spring (1984), Swan Lake (1987) and Carmen (1992), all of which were adapted to the screen by Swedish television-increased his renown. He received two Emmys, an Italia and a Dance Screen award for his televised productions of Carmen and Smoke, a duet recently reworked into the ballet Solo for Two. Since 1993, Mr. Ek has worked with the Cullberg as a guest choreographer. He has also been in constant demand by the world's biggest dance companies. Notable works include Sleeping Beauty (1996) for the Hamburg Ballet, A Sort Of (1997) for the Nederlands Dans Theater, and Appartement (2000) for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris. In 2005, he created Aluminium for the Compañía Nacional de Danza de Madrid. Mr. Ek is also acclaimed for his choreographic theatre works, including Don Giovanni (1999) and Andromaque (2001), both mounted at the Royal Dramatic Theatre.
Sleeping Beauty, Appartement and Solo for Two are part of the repertoire of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.