Dance | Music | Theatre
SNOW PRODUCTIONS

Timeline

2021

2021 Live and digital pop-up Events at “zur Wand,” wiewaersmalmit.ch’s exhibition and event space in Basel. Interview with Tom und Lillian here. Despite events being prohibited, we got super motivated in 2021 and dreamt up a series of pop-ups here in Basel, wanting to push back against the pandemic’s limitations with creativity. The goal was to use digital tools to manipulate analogue experiences while working with voyeurism, coincidence and intentionally fragmented narratives. “zur Wand,” an analogue art and event space in Basel invited us to be the first group in their new space. How could we transform this tiny room, mess with time and space, and work with lighting and proximity in ways that aren’t possible in theaters? The dancers and DJs performed 3 weeks in a row for an hour, each time showing short 6 minute episodes from our recent research. An audience of passsers-by collected on the street to watch. While the music pulsed inside, the street became an unnaturally quiet, concentrated and intimate space. Multiple cameras filmed and streamed from outside and inside, giving simultaneous impressions of the same event. Edited videos later cut and layered this multiplicity, messing with our memory of what “really” happened. All three films are being screened at “zur Wand” til the end of March. Our all-local team of collaborators included the second-hand store @Chemiserieplus who outfitted the dancers and DJs in their cool sustainable fashion, the young photography talent Lucie Schrag and the creatives behind “zur Wand” @wiewaersmalmit Tracks from one of our favorite producers @randomhypeofficial were delivered fresh from Düsseldorf.

2021 Premiere AFTERLIFE at the coolest new still-secret venue in Basel.

2021 Premiere TANZHALLE REITPALAST, Bühne Aarau, Switzerland. We will co-direct and choreograph the interdisciplinary opening production of the Alte Reithalle. A large cast of professional dancers, musicians, puppeteers and actors as well as an inter-generational group of Aarau citizens will be featured.

2020

2020 We were part of a Director/Choreographer collective that created ALIVE.SAISONSCHLUSS-20, a production for Corona times at Theater Lübeck initiated by the innovative Opera Director Dr. Katharina Kost-Tolmein. Live and virtual Premiere June 13, 2020. STREAMING ONLINE FREE until July 2020.

2020 #DISTANCERAVE livened up isolation. Train tracks, living rooms, fields, riverbanks, playgrounds and the line at bakery became our personal dance floors. We got away from our screens with people around the globe and grooved to the same playlist at the same time.   

2020 Tom directed JUNGLE at Theater Luzerne, the world’s first Brass Opera. Photos

2020 Lillian worked in Denmark for the first time, realizing a long-term wish to integrate movement and opera singing as closely as possible in Monteverdi’s ORPHEUS at the Royal Danish Opera. Opernwelt Magazine called it a production of “European ranking.”

2020 Tom’s 30-year collaboration with the famous clown duo Ursus & Nadeschkin was celebrated in the documentary “Stopping Would be Easy: Ursus & Nadeschkin” on SRF TV in Switzerland.

2020 Three of Tom’s premieres were cancelled due to COVID.

2020 SNOW productions was founded for the creation and development of independent productions by Tom and Lillian in Basel, Switzerland. Research for AFTERLIFE began as Artist-in-Residence at Braswell Art Center in Basel. Collaboration with Basel DJ Duo Schwifi began.

2019

2019 Lillian returned to the Twin Cities, MN, USA for a three-month sabbatical. She was a guest lecturer at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota Dance Program, taught at St. Olaf College and TU Dance Company and School, and re-connected to many artists, dance-makers, presenters, colleagues, family and friends.

2019 Tom directed the Swiss Dance Awards in Fribourg and was a guest lecturer at the University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland (HdKB).

2019 The idea for AFTERLIFE was born. Lillian hosted Dance Jams Dance Jams in Berlin and Basel to research how individual expression emerges out of rhythmic mass movement and commissioned a track from Swiss electronic music producer Gaspard de la Montagne.

2019 CORO FANTASTICO , Theater Heidelberg. We created a new, immersive evening to highlight the opera chorus. Performances played on two stages simultaneously and feature a surprise when 250 people from the audience face the other half , allowing the audience to directly participate in the performance. The cast included five dancers and 50 singers from the Heidelberg region, the theater technicians and an enormous technical crew.

2018

2018 Lillian was commissioned by the Philharmonie Luxembourg to create SILBERLICHT , a dance duet featuring Ensemble Diderot from Paris. The premiere in 2019 featureed classically trained contemporary dancers interacting with the baroque musicians in a magical landscape of light.

2018 LAZARUS , Theater Bremen. Performances of the David Bowie musical run for three years.

2018 Tom began work on the three-year production EXCLUSIVE FOR EVERYONE at Theater Basel, a large-scale performance featuring lay people from Basel in their performance of dance, poetry, drawing, music, theater, stage fighting and singing. He was supported by a team of local workshop leaders and designers across the disciplines.

2017

2017 Tom was a guest professor at the Hamburg University for the Arts (HfMT), coaching young opera directors in the creation of their third-year productions.

2017 The idea for SNOW was born.

2017 Lillian worked in Austria for the first time at Opera Graz. Her “War Carousel” choreography which opens the second act of THE TROUBADOR to a rhythmic soundscape of anvils, was received with both boos and praise.

2017 MASS , Theater Lübeck. Opera Director Katharina Kost-Tolmein had the vision to program Bernstein’s massive production before the rest of the German-speaking theater world catches on to the idea. Our production featured classical ballet dancers, opera, blues, musical and rock singers, choruses, children and a full classical orchestra plus a blues band and a rock band in a cast of over 200 . Performances played sold-out for two years.

2017 Lillian was a Guest Choreographer at Choreolab Europe, Basel. Her workshop for professionals explored compositional methods for choreography from an interdisciplinary perspective. Together with Tom and musician Martin O. they offered improvisation methods that simultaneously called on musical, acting and dancing skills.

2016

2014 – 2016 Tom’s THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO celebrated its premiere in Fribourg, Switzerland before traveling to Lausanne and Toulouse, Tours and Toulon, France. Tom performed as Bassa Selim, stepping on stage as an actor for the first time since 1996.

2016 JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR , Theater Basel played 30 sold-out performances. Contemporary dancers from the Basel region, the opera chorus, young singers from Basel's Gospel am Münster chorus and top-class musical performers are seamlessly integrated . Tom was nominated for Best Stage Direction, Lillian for Best Choreography and the entire team for Best Production of the year by Musicals Magazine. Applause for director Tom Ryser for making the rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar relevant in our time and mercilessly pimping up its feminist content. – Neue Zürcher Zeitung

2015

2015 KISS ME KATE, Staatstheater Kassel. Lillian choreographed for her former dance company. The dance marathon Too Darned Hot features dancers, chorus, extras and soloists , one of whom was Pat, a 73 year-old former ballet dancer. Tom put the cherry on the top with slapstick.

2015 THE FAIRY QUEEN , Theater Lübeck. A new, interdisciplinary version features actors, singers, contemporary dancers, opera chorus and children in a radical re-imagining of the Purcell semi-opera . Sold-out performances played for 3 years.

2014

2014 LA FINTA GIARDINIERA, Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken featured an orchestra on a rotating stage and a tribe of kids. For the first time, Lillian and Tom make a dance piece out of an opera .

2014 Lillian choreographed the witches in MACBETH, provoking lust, disgust and voyuristic curiosity at Staatstheater Kassel.

2013

2013 Tom created OPERATION ORCHESTRA, an immersive opera without singers based on Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the industrial building that houses the Cultural Cathedral St. Ingbert for the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken.

2013 FAME, Theater Basel with a cast of musical performers and young dancers and actors from Basel . Sold-out for over 30 performances.

2013 EVITA celebrated a widely successful premiere at the Staatstheater Kassel, poetically re-imagining Eva Perón’s rise to power poetically re-imagining Eva Perón’s rise to power as a transformation into the black swan .

2012

2012 Lillian retired from her 15-year professional dance career. Rehearsals began for our first production together, EVITA, with designers Silvia Merlo & Ulf Stengl, costume designer Uta Meenen and conductor Yoel Gamzou.