News: Maurice Béjart dies aged 80

Friday 23 November 2007

The French choreographer who brought ballet to a wide audience in Europe died this week.

Monica Mason, Royal Ballet Director said ‘Maurice Béjart was one of the greatest dance theatre creators of the 20th Century. His unique personality and style was evident in all his work, and he knew exactly how to exploit the varied talent of the brilliant and outstanding dancers he chose for his ballets. He leaves a large body of work known worldwide. The dance world mourns the passing of a great figure.’

Although hugely popular in Europe, his work was less often seen, or appreciated in the UK or the US.

Obituaries

‘He was by temperament a populist, eager to make ballet as direct and lively an art as cinema, and to attract the same kind of public; but he found no difficulty in reconciling this with the introduction of philosophical themes into his work, often based on oriental culture and beliefs.’ Read more in the Times, 23 Nov 07

‘What made Béjart’s formula so successful with his audiences (if not always with British critics) was his unique blend of showmanship with sincerity, and virtuosity with artistry’ Read more in the Guardian, 23 Nov 07

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