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Efva Lilja is an artist working with choreography, visual art, films and writings. She has made a name for herself as one of Sweden's most exciting choreographers with a very distinctive repertoire that has been much celebrated. After a number of years as a dancer she made her debut as a choreographer in 1982 and in 1985 her company E.L.D was set up. She was their Artistic Director for twenty years. She has created pioneering new work in a range of collaborative endeavours with other artists; works that have been described as beautiful, poetic, erotic, Nordic, controversial and of epoch-making importance for Swedish dance. Her work is performed in more than thirty-five countries, at the major stages, in small intimate venues, on television, films, in schools, art forums – in wood, earth, water, fire and snow. Some of her most celebrated work has been produced as commissions from major art institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1994, Stockholm Museum of Modern Art in 2000 and 2003, the Baltic Art Centre in Visby and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao 2001.

Together with her collaborators, Efva Lilja established in the 80's and 90's what was a totally new way of working for the art of dance in Sweden. Over the years she has received a wide range of grants and awards for her artistic achievements in dance. Among them to be mentioned that she was appointed an Honorary Member of the International Centre for Cultural Relations 1999 and in 2000 she received the Prix D´ASSITEJ and in 2009 she was awarded a medal in commemoration of her artistic achievements by the City of Stockholm.

Efva Lilja was first trained at the Ballet Academy and at the University of Dance in Stockholm. Her subsequent training took place at the Royal Academy in England, in France and the United States. She studied at the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation in New York, where she also took classes in composition with Robert Dunn and composition workshops at Columbia University, including work with Meredith Monk among others. As a freelance dancer she was employed by a number of choreographers in Sweden and New York and her touring engagements included work for the Swedish National Concert Institute and National Theatre Institute. For five years she was under contract to the choreographer Margaretha Åsberg and Pyramiderna. Thereafter she performed mainly her own works. Efva Lilja has also taken part in several films, including Amorosa directed by Mai Zetterling, Dansen (the Dance) directed by Jan Troell and Kvinnorna på taket (the Women on the Roof) directed by Carl Gustav Nykvist. She has also taken the director's chair herself: such projects include Huset (the House) by and with actor Allan Edwall, as a choreographer collaborated with the Russian director Anatoli Vasiliev in Moscow, in the play Mozart and Salieri by Pushkin and she has choreographed wind orchestras, symphony orchestras as well as solomusiciens and choirs.

Efva Lilja has written a number of articles published in books; Kulturen – möten och mödor (Culture – Meetings and Hardships); om DANS eller Vanvett i den vardagliga idyllen (about DANCE or Madness in the every day idyll), book about movement research, published by Carlssons; Styrka och mod – om barns skapande (Strength and Courage – about Children's Creativity) published by Rädda barnen, 80-talets dans (Dance in the Eighties) published by the Museum of Dance as their yearbook and Fylkingens jubileum (The Fylkingen Jubilee) published by Fylkingen, to name but a few. Her writing has also been published in a number of periodicals and antologies in Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Russia and France. In 2000 she published her book Danskonst i språkets utmarker (Dance at the boundaries of language), 2003 Danskonst i fruset landskap (The art of dance in a frozen landscape), Words On Dance, 2005 Dance – For Better, For Worse, 2006 Movement as the Memory of the Body, 2012 Do You get What I'm Not Saying – on dance as a subversive declaration of love and 100 Exercises For A Choreographer and Other Survivors.

Efva Lilja is a lecturer in great demand. She also runs research and artistic development projects. As a professor she focuses on this and on developing working methods in choreography. 2002–2004 her research focussed on Dance in a Frozen Landscape that took it's starting point in a two months polarexpedition to the North Pole where she explored her abilities to dance under extreme circumstances. Her recent Artistic Research project was Movement as The Memory of The Body 2003–2006, represented by three performances The Memory 2003, Using The Eye In The Middle Of The Head 2004 and Smiling At Death 2005. She has been involved in both national and international organisations such as SAR (Society for Artistic Research), ELIA (European League of Institutes in the Arts), all in favour of artists ability to perform research.

Efva Lilja is a committed proponent and an activist of cultural politics. For many years she has been an active force in bodies such as the Swedish Dance Committee and Fylkingen. She was a founder member of the Association of Swedish Choreographers (FSK) in 1986 and was its first chairperson. She was the government's appointee to the governing board of the University of Dance 1994–1997 and was the designated expert in dance at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs during 1995. 2007–2012 she was a member of the board at the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. 2009–2014 she was a member of the International Board for the Program for Arts-based Research, PEEK, at Austrian Science Found FWF – to mention a few of her commissions. 2008–2010 she was an expert in an advisory board concerning artistic research at the Ministry of Education and during 2104 she was Expert Advisor on Artistic Research at the Ministry of Education and Research. 2012 she was invited to become a member of Team Culture 2012 (EU), and invited by President José Manuel Barroso 2013–2014 to be active in the project: A New Narrative for Europé. She also took part in Forum D'Avignon-Ruhr 2013–2014.

Additional biographical information and a complete list of works is to be found on www.efvalilja.se, in the Swedish National Encyclopaedia, Vem är det (the Swedish Who's Who) and other reference works, also in the archives of the Swedish Museum of Dance and at the archive of the National Library.