|Birth: ||Jan. 1, 1927|
|Death: ||Nov. 22, 2007|
French choreographer and dancer. Béjart was a controversial and influential figure of 20th century ballet.
Born in Marseille, the son of philosopher Gaston Berger, he studied dance with Egorova in Paris, Volkova in London and made his debut in 1945.
From 1945 to 1947 he toured with Schwarz, Charrat and Petit; in 1949 to 1950 he performed with Mona Inglesby's International Ballet where he spent most of the time dancing the Prince in Swan Lake. He also performed with the Swedish Ballet and the Cullberg.
In 1953 he founded Ballet de l'Etoile with writer Jean Laurent. For this company he choreographed several new works which included Symphonie pour un homme seul which was the first ballet choreographed to sounds not made by instruments.
In 1959 he choreographed Sacre du printemps for the Brussels Opera, using a specially assembled group which would form the nucleus of the Ballet of the 20th Century founded the next year.
This company became of the most popular and well toured groups in the world. It was here that forged his reputation, making small works like Webern Opus Five and his homage to Marius Petipa, Ni fleurs ni couronnes which was a version of the Rose Adagio.
He attracted some exceptional dancers, including Maina Gielgud and Jorge Donn, an Argentinian who for more than two decades was a central focus of Béjart's life.
Other famous dancers were happy to work with Béjart for short periods or in specially created works. These included Jean Babilée, Fernando Bujones, Sylvie Guillem, Maya Plisetskaya and Vladimir Vassiliev. He made a duet for Rudolf Nureyev, Songs of a Wayfarer, which he performed for many years. Balanchine's muse, Suzanne Farrell, was a member of the company for a period and when she left to rejoin New York City Ballet.
Following a dispute with Gérard Mortier, the new director of the Monnaie, in 1987 he moved his base from Brussels to Lausanne in Switzerland, despite a personal plea from King Baudouin of the Belgians. In Lausanne he had good working conditions, complete artistic freedom and the possibility of re-establishing the dance and theatre school he had set up in Brussels.
In all Béjart made over 200 ballets, mostly for his own company but he did make several new works for the Paris Opéra, as well as directing operas, plays and films.
Béjart received numerous awards and prizes during his life. They include the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun and the Belgian Ordre de la Couronne. He was appointed to the Académie des Beaux Arts in 1994 and was appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 2003. In 1974, he won the Erasmus.
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Specifically: Ashes scattered near the coast at Ostend, Belgium
Created by: Medora
Record added: Jan 05, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 23757788
Added by: Anonymous
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