Danish lighting designer Steen Bjarke made his Royal Ballet debut in 2001, when the Company performed Reid Anderson’s staging of John Cranko’s Onegin, originally staged for the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, in 1989.
Bjarke joined Danish Royal Theatre as a lighting designer in 1973. He was one of the first lighting designers to use motion-controlled lights, which are used to create entire set pieces that interact closely with the dancers. At Copenhagen Bjarke has lit all the main operas and ballets, including the August Bournonville ballets, and has designed lighting for such choreographers as Maurice Béjart, Kevin McKenzie, John Neumeier and Peter Schaufuss. He first worked with Anderson on the 1989 staging of Onegin, and has gone on to light Anderson’s 1997 staging for Oslo and a further revival in Helsinki, with new sets by Elisabeth Dalton. He was in charge of the lighting design for A Folktale with set designs by HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and after this production received the Order of Merit.
Since 2000, Bjarke has been working as a freelance designer and works principally with Dieter Graefe on the Cranko ballets. Other work as a designer includes for Bournonville’s La Ventana for Royal Danish Ballet, for which Bjarke also created the lighting design.