Cullberg studied ballet under Kurt Jooss and Lilian Karina. From 1952 to 1957 she was employed by the Royal Ballet in London. It was then in 1960 director and choreographer at the Stockholm City Theatre. There they established the so-called " Cullbergballett " to life, the celebrated worldwide success. Horace Engdahl coined the saying that Birgit Cullberg Birgit Åkesson and the " mothers of modern dance in Sweden " are. The Stockholm University awarded her an honorary professorship. In addition, she received the French award Commendeur des Arts et Lettres and the Italian Cavaliere Ufficiale.