Benois de la Danse nominee

Lisa-Maree Cullum was born in New Zealand and started her ballet classes at the age of four in her mother's school. At the age of 14 she became a dance student in Sydney. One year later she won the gold medal at the famous Adeline-Genee competition in London. Though Peter Schaufuss immediately offered her a contract, she preferred to continue her studies for another year and a half at the renowned Academy of Marika Besobrasova in Monte Carlo, with a grant won at the Prix de Lausanne two weeks later, before she joined the English National Ballet.

When only one year later Peter Schaufuss was appointed ballet director of the Deutsch Oper, Berlin, she accepted his invitation to follow him there. Schaufuss choreographed his Giselle for the eighteen-year-old dancer and appointed her principal. Soon a favorite with Berlin audiences, she danced practically all the leading roles of the classical repertoire. In 1997 she looked for new challenges and — since the Bayerisches Staatsballett and its varied repertoire have a great reputation among dancers, — she phoned Ivan Liska.

She joined the company as soloist, but was soon promoted to principal and is greatly appreciated by Munich public and press alike. She started as Nikiya in La Bayadere, then danced in ballets by Balanchine, Forsythe, Neumeier, Cranko, MacMillan. She also danced the great classical roles: Odette/Odile, Giselle, Kitri and Raymonda.

Her outstanding technique makes her an ideal interpreter of Balanchine's Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Who cares?, and, during the Ballet Week 2002 — Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. In the same programme she also dances the first pas de deux by Jerome Robbins' In the Night.

The German and British critics give the ballerina the highest appreciation.
She guested in Wellington, Brisbane, Sydney, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Milano and Berlin. During the past season she danced in Paul Charmer's new production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, in December 2002 she guested for three performances in Nureyev's Nutcracker at La Scala, and participated in the gala to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Nureyev's death.