Discover Ken Ossola

There are artists that find their way in the lightning speed, in the force of catching inspiration in the moment; Ken Ossola belongs to those.

Very early on, Ken Ossola discovered his ability to move with ease and grace through practicing gymnastics.  At the age of 16, he was noticed and encouraged to take additional ballet classes to develop his strength as a gymnast. This led him to the realization that he wanted to become a professional dancer.

Following his decision, Ken immediately met key people who would facilitate this process. He had the opportunity to take classes from a former Béjart dancer, Jean-Paul Balmer, at the Claude Boucherin Dance School in Meyrin. Soon after he was accepted at l’École de Danse de Genève and eventually joined the Ballet Junior de Genève. Ken remembers its founder and director Beatriz Consuelo as a charismatic woman who taught him the passion and precision of dance. Through her teaching, he learned to open himself up and share his talent with others.

In 1989, under the leadership of Gerald Tibbs and the Artistic direction of Jiri Kylian, Ken was invited to join Nederlands Dans Theater 2. For the next three years he developed himself as an artist working and creating with leading choreographers such as Hans Van Manen, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Martino Muller, Paul Lightfoot, Nacho Duato, Johan Inger and Jiri Kylian.

This led him to join NDT 1. Collaborating with Jiri Kylian on a great number of creations including One of a Kind, Blackbird, Tiger Lily, Wings of Wax and Bella Figura, he became one of NDT’s most recognized dancers. Alexandre Demidof (1) wrote: “Ossola is a mixture of power, instinct, control with a burst of soul.”

For eight years ken was rocking in a nest of creation and innovation, awakening his interest in choreography. Working with Jiri Kylian brought Ken the richest moments of inspiration leading him to give up the seduction of a gesture in order to touch the essential. In 1999, Ken felt it was time to “open up and speak up”, and so left NDT in order to pursue his career as a choreographer.

For the last fifteen years, Ken’s passion has been to collaborate with dancers observing them and allowing himself to be swept away by their movements, suggesting, re-formulating a step, as if painting on a canvas.

In 2009, using Faure’s “Requiem”, Ken created “Lux” for Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève. In 2014, the company’s director Philippe Cohen commissioned him this time to make a full evening tribute to Gustav Mahler. Accustomed by then to working with high-level partitions and powerful compositions, Ken accepted the challenge and created “Shadows Memories”.

In 2016, Gradimir Pankov then artistic director of Les Grand Ballet Canadien, gave Ken carte blanche to create again a tribute, this time to Sergei Rachmaninov.

As well as choreographing, Ken enjoys working in the studio as ballet master.  He has worked in that capacity for NDT during their 2004/05 season and has assisted Kylian during the creation of Zugvögel at the Bavarian State Theater in Munich, as well as staging his work worldwide.

(1)Journaliste au magazine suisse, « Le Temps ».


As a choreographer Ken Ossola was particularly productive :

1997 “Thousand Knives” Korzo Theatre “young choreographers evening”

1998 “Footprint”

1999 “Morning Calm”

2000 “Between + and –” B.J program”, Alhambra, Genève

2002 ” + and – “  “The choreographer workshop”, Swedish Television

2003 “Morning Calm.2″ Ballet Junior de Genève

2004 “Corpsdonnées” Ballet Junior de Genève

2004 “Zero Degrees” full evening creation for the Cadance Festival, Den Haag

2005 “Zero Degrees.2” Ballet Junior de Genève

2005 “Off Light” No.mad.ic project 2, Japan

2005 “In-Ten-Sive” Rotterdam Dance Academy at the Holland Dance Festival, Den Haag

2006 “171°/174°” full evening co-creation with Tamara Bacci, for the Cadance Festival, Den Haag

2007 “She is the One” Ballet Junior de Genève

2008 “Phases” Association de Danse Contemporaine, Genève

2008 “Ombre Fragile” Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

2009 “Piroska” Ballet Kiel

2010 “White Lies” Tanz Luzern Theater

2010 “Sed Lux Permanet” Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

2011 “MIR” Jeune Ballet de Lyon

2011 “Fine Line” NDT2

2012 “Kiokou” Ballet Junior de Genève

2014 “Mémoire de l’Ombre” Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

2015 “White Lies“ reworked for the Kayzer Ballet” Portugal

2016 “La Lueur de l’Aube” Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal


Dim Light of Dawn – October 2016 – Toronto

Recently, Ken Ossola  has been working on his new choreography “Dim light of Dawn” work commissioned by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the opening night took place March 10 th, 2016 in Montreal.  This new piece is a tribute to the genius that was Sergei Rachmaninov.

New challenge for this subtle choreographer presented as an artist of shadow and light ,a calligrapher more than a choreographer.

His ballets sculpt the dancers bodies in an apparent fragility, tinged harmony and inner peace.

Some of the theater and companies that have programed Ken Ossola's works