Lili – The Danish Girl

Lili – The Danish Girl

Reginaldo Oliveira, head of ballet at the Salzburg Landestheater, will be telling the story of Einar Wegner alias Lili Elbe, a pioneer of the transgender movement, in a dance way from mid-March.

Lili Elbe was born Einar Wegener in Denmark in 1882 and was a well-known landscape painter under that name. Shortly after marrying the illustrator Gerda Gottlieb, Lili began to secretly model for her for portraits of women. An eventful life between Denmark, France and Italy led the couple to Paris in the 1920s, because Lili hoped to be able to live out her feminine side more freely there. Several gender reassignment operations in Berlin at the Magnus Hirschfeld Centre and in Dresden gave her the feeling that she had arrived in the right body. She was probably one of the first people to undergo these operations and died as a result.

Ballet director Reginaldo Oliveira is interested in the example of Lili Elbe and what it means when body feeling and outer form cannot be reconciled. What diversity we deprive ourselves of through our rigid attributions of masculinity and femininity. In what kind of social environment could an inner freedom arise that allows for all the possibilities that are inherent in one? Oliveira’s choreographic work, which repeatedly breaks the boundaries of classical ballet, suggests exploring the body itself with the means of dance. And at the same time to create a homage to a woman who has a lot to tell us.

Male, female or what?

Lili Elbe (1882-1931) was a pioneer of the transgender movement and wrote a book about her life “Fra mand til kvinde” (From man to woman), published in 1931 and translated into several languages. The international bestseller titled “The Danish Girl” was made into a film by Tom Hooper in 2015, watch on Netflix, genres LGBTQ movies.

Lili – The Danish Girl. Salzburg State Theatre 12 and 18 Mar, 1 Apr and 6 May. Times and tickets on the SLT website.

Published 31. January 2022Updated 23. February 2022
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