Ihsan Rustem was born in London, where he trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Ihsan began his professional career at the age of 17, joining Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures, followed by engagements with BallettTheater Munich (Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz) and Introdans in The Netherlands. In 2007 Ihsan moved to Switzerland as a Soloist with the Bern Ballet and later a founding member of the Tanz Luzerner Theater. During this period, Ihsan originated roles in creations by Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Alexander Ekman, Matthew Bourne, Stijn Celis, Patrick Delcroix, Cayetano Soto, Felix Landerer, Guilherme Bothello and worked with choreographers Mats Ek, Jiri Kylián, Paul Lightfoot / Sol Leon, Hans van Manen and William Forsythe, amongst others.
In 2010, Sarah Slipper invited Ihsan to create his first commission for a company, and in 2015 he was appointed Resident Choreographer of NW Dance Project. His work in Portland has been recognized with numerous accolades. His 2010 debut creation for the company, State of Matter, won the 2012 Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest as well as the Public Prize at the 25th International Competition for Choreographers Hannover. In 2012 he returned to create Mother Tongue. In March 2015 he premiered his third work for NW Dance Project, Yidam, and in March 2016, Ihsan premiered his fourth original creation, Le Fil Rouge. His fifth NW Dance Project creation, an inventive take on Bolero, is now touring nationally and internationally, as is his reimagined Carmen, which received Dance Magazine‘s 2017 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Collaboration. Ihsan collaborated with Portland band Savage Nightingale for If You Stay in 2018, and in 2020 he will take on a titan of classical music with a new production of The Rite of Spring.
Rustem was the 2014 recipient of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s International Commissioning Project, and Nederlands Dans Theater placed Ihsan on their program of Up & Coming Choreographers in 2019. His work has appeared in the repertoire of NDT2 (The Netherlands), Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Canada), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 2 (USA), National Ballet of Chile (Chile), Istanbul State Ballet MDT (Turkey), Ballet Moscow (Russia), Tanz Luzerner Theater (Switzerland), Tanz Theater Braunschweig (Germany), Konzert Theater Bern (Switzerland), Ballett Augsburg (Germany), Kazan State Opera and Ballet (Russia), Whim W’Him Seattle (USA), Koblenz Ballet (Germany), Thüringer Staatsballett (Germany), Salt Contemporary Dance (USA), Arts Umbrella Dance Company Vancouver (Canada) Ballet Regensburg (Germany), Würzburg Ballet (Germany), Siberian State Ballet (Russia), Staatstheater Schwerin (Germany) and the National Youth Dance Company (UK). He was twice a featured choreographer for Russia’s popular TV show ‘The Bolshoi Ballet’.
Ihsan is the former Artistic Director of the Dance Art Studio Luzern and lives in Zurich, Switzerland. Further info at www.ihsanrustem.com.