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Univ.-Prof. Esther Balfe

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In 1990 Esther Balfe graduated from Brunel University London with a diploma from Ballet Rambert. On finishing her studies she was employed as a demi soloist at the State Theatre Saarbrücken under the direction of Philip Landsdale (Royal Ballet). She then went on to work with the Heidelberg Ballet under the Direction of Liz King and appereared as a guest at the National Theater in Mannheim. In 1995 she was a refounding member of Tanztheater Wien, which later joined the Volksoper Vienna in 1999 under the new Direction of Liz King. At the Volksoper, Esther was a solo artist and performed Odette/Odile in the creation Schwanensee Remixed (King and Guerin) and created the work Caravaggio in Collaboration with Liz King, Mani Obeya and Daphne Strothmann.

Between 2003 and 2006 Esther Balfe began to teach and research movement on a more intensive basis, giving workshops for Tanztheater Wien, Salzburg Experimental Dance Academy, Anton Bruckner University Linz, Tanzquartier Wien and was a part time Lecturer at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK). In 2004 she was invited as a „guest artist in residence“ at the University of New Mexico (USA, Head of Dept.: Donna Jewell), 2005 she was invited to perform at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden where she appeared as Giselle in the opera Faust by David McVicar (choreography by Michael Keegan Dolan). 2005—2007 she was performing on tour with Michael Keegan Dolan’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theater.

It was around 2005 Esther Balfe first appeared as a guest artist with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt and in 2006 was asked to join the company in its new configuration The Forsythe Company. Since 2007 she was a fulltime member of TFC appearing in Forsythe’s work from the last decade Three Atmospheric Studies, Heterotopia, Yes we can't, I don’t believe in outerspace and Sider to name but a few. During her time at The Forsythe Company Esther became deeply involved in the processing and archiving of movement, researching on a daily basis — movement modalities, systems and improvisation technology, which included leading workshops whilst on international tour with TFC. In 2012 Esther was asked by Scott Delahunta to take part in the research and development phases for the “Motion Bank” team in Germany.

Since taking a full time teaching post at the MUK in 2012, Esther Balfe has continued to perform in the artistic sphere and — up to 2015 — appeared as a guest artist with The Forsythe Company. She recently had the pleasure to collaborate with artists John Gerrard, Jacqueline Kornmüller, Liz King, Diane Shooman, Mani Obeya and Christina Jauernik. 

Esther Balfe is currently working on INTRA-SPACE, a research based project for the academy of fine arts vienna and Wolfgang Tschapeller (IKA).
She is currently performing Ganymed at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien with seven students and graduates from the MUK study programmes “Contemporary Dance and Ballet” and “Contemporary Dance Education”.

Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

Seit 2012


The MUK consideres itself a progressive Music and Arts university, which creates cultural values in the fields of music, dance, drama and singing. The MUK is the only university in the ownership of the city of Vienna and unites the best international talents and prominent teachers.



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