- Béjart, Maurice
orig. Maurice Jean Bergerborn Jan. 1, 1927, Marseille, Fr.French-born Belgian dancer, choreographer, and opera director.He studied in Paris, then toured with various companies before founding his own, Les Ballets de l'Étoile (later Ballet Théâtre de Maurice Béjart), in Paris in 1954. In 1959 it moved to Brussels; renamed the Ballet of the 20th Century, it became one of the world's foremost troupes. His productions have been noted for reworking tradition in unusual and often controversial ways. Since 1961 he has also worked in opera, staging Tales of Hoffmann and Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, among other works. In 1987 the company moved to Switzerland and took the new name Béjart Ballet Lausanne.
* * *▪ 2008Maurice-Jean BergerFrench dancer and choreographerborn Jan. 1, 1927, Marseille, Francedied Nov. 22, 2007, Lausanne, Switz.was renowned for his flamboyant theatricality, his use of African dance rhythms, and his erotic, often shocking interpretations of such works as Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps (1959) and Maurice Ravel's Bolero (1961). Béjart's modern works ranged from an homage to the rock band Queen to the masterful Symphonie pour un homme seul (1955), set to musique concrète. The diminutive (1.6-m [5-ft 4-in]) Béjart studied dance in Paris and made his professional debut in 1945 with the Marseille Opera. He toured with the Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit (1947–49), the International Ballet (1949–50), and the Royal Swedish Ballet (1951–52) before forming (1954) his own troupe in Paris. He was resident choreographer for Brussels's Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and founder (1960) of its Ballet du XXe Siècle (Ballet of the Twentieth Century), which he directed until 1987, when he moved to Switzerland to establish the Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Béjart also directed for the theatre and wrote a novel, autobiographical works, and a play.
* * *▪ French dancerpseudonym of Maurice-Jean Bergerborn Jan. 1, 1927, Marseille, Francedied Nov. 22, 2007, Lausanne, Switz.French-born dancer, choreographer, and opera director known for combining classic ballet and modern dance with jazz, acrobatics, and musique concrète (electronic music based on natural sounds).After studies in Paris, Béjart toured with the Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit (1947–49), the International Ballet (1949–50), and the Royal Swedish Ballet (1951–52). In 1954 he founded Les Ballets de l'Étoile (later Ballet Théâtre de Maurice Béjart), for which he choreographed his masterwork, Symphonie pour un homme seul. His other ballets include Voilà l'homme, Promethée, and Sonate à trois. In 1960, following his successful ballet version of Igor Stravinsky's masterpiece Le Sacre du printemps (1959), he became director of ballet at Brussels' Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. The same year he became artistic director of the Ballet du XXe Siècle (Ballet of the Twentieth Century), which became one of the foremost dance companies in the world. In 1987 the troupe moved to Lausanne, Switz., and was renamed Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Béjart's productions with the Twentieth Century troupe were notable for their flamboyant theatricality and their innovative reworking of traditional music and dance materials, often in an unusual and controversial fashion.In 1961 Béjart launched his career as an opera director with Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, followed in 1964 by Berlioz's Damnation of Faust. His original works include a musical, The Green Queen (1963), and such ballets as Bolero (1960), Ninth Symphony (1964), Firebird (1970), Nijinsky, Clown of God (1971), and Notre Faust (1975).
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