The background of Arila Siegert is in Expressionist Dance, known in Germany as Ausdruckstanz. She studied with Gret Palucca at the Palucca School in Dresden. In 1970 she worked as a dancer for the first time under Tom Schilling, artistic director and choreographer at the famous Komische Oper Berlin founded by Walter Felsenstein. By 1979 she had moved up to become soloist at the Staatsoper Dresden (now Semperoper).
She started producing her own choreographies very early on, as well as reconstructing other Expressionist Dance works such as those by Mary Wigman and Dore Hoyer. She devised many solo dance evenings. In 1987 she founded her first own dance company at the Staatsschauspiel Dresden. She created many full-length ballets for dance companies in Berlin, Vienna and Leipzig.
Siegert also toured the world. After a guest performance at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC Alan M Kriegsman called her an “exceptional artist” in the Washington Post. She is extensively acknowledged in a new book by Jens Richard Giersdorf called The Body of the People – East German Dance Since 1945.
In 1996 she took on the directorship of the stage of the famous Bauhaus in Dessau, where she created some more of her own works. A solo-choreography set to the music of the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters was among them.
In 1998 she produced her first opera, Verdi's Macbeth. Since then another 40 opera productions have been added to that. Among them five Mozart operas: Idomeneo, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Clemency of Titus and The Magic Flute. But she also directed Der Freischütz (Weber), The Barber of Seville (Rossini), The Flying Dutchman (Wagner), Verdi's Aida and La Traviata, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Janáček's The Makropoulos Affair and most recently Jenůfa also by Janácček.
Her staging of Frederick Delius' A Village Romeo and Juliet on the occasion of the composer's 150th birthday was praised in the New York Times.
Arila Siegert has directed Baroque operas by Monteverdi, Purcell, Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel (Agrippina and Alcina) and Rameau (Les Paladins), but also contemporary works such as Master and Margarita by Sergei Slonimsky (after the famous novel by Bulgakov) for the EXPO 2000 or The passion of Jonathan Wade, Carlisle Floyd's epic set in America during the Reconstruction Era.
As choreographer she worked on the world premiere of the opera Gogol by the young Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach in Vienna based on her play of the same name. She staged great operettas and musicals such as The Merry Widow, The Land of Smiles (Lehár) and Fiddler on the Roof (Bock/Stein). In 2014 she will give her debut as director in Amerika.
In 1989 Arila Siegert won the Deutscher Kritikerpreis for dance and in 1993 was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1997 she became a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin, and in 2007 of the Sächsische Akademie der Künste in Dresden. In 2010 she was voted to become a member of the Goethe-Institut. Her work is preserved in the archives of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
Arila Siegert is living in Berlin.
Her Manager is: Ingrid Raffeiner, Theateragentur Marx, Munich.