[ Show ]
Support VoyForums
[ Shrink ]
VoyForums Announcement: Programming and providing support for this service has been a labor of love since 1997. We are one of the few services online who values our users' privacy, and have never sold your information. We have even fought hard to defend your privacy in legal cases; however, we've done it with almost no financial support -- paying out of pocket to continue providing the service. Due to the issues imposed on us by advertisers, we also stopped hosting most ads on the forums many years ago. We hope you appreciate our efforts.

Show your support by donating any amount. (Note: We are still technically a for-profit company, so your contribution is not tax-deductible.) PayPal Acct: Feedback:

Donate to VoyForums (PayPal):

Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1234567[8]910 ]
Subject: Niels Larsen, 89, Dancer With a Knack for Mime

March 13
[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]
Date Posted: March 24, 2003 2:39:44 EDT

Niels Bjorn Larsen, the Danish dancer and great mime who helped reveal the beauties of August Bournonville's Romantic ballets to Americans as artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet during its first United States tour in 1956, died in Copenhagen. He was 89.

Carefully preserved in Denmark, the 19th-century productions choreographed by Bournonville were ballet's best-kept secret until American and British dance critics were invited to festivals in Copenhagen in the early 1950's. Their delight at the Royal Danish Ballet's purity of classical style, fused with mime and comic passages, led to appearances by small groups of Danish dancers followed by the company's first tours abroad.

As performer, teacher, ballet master and artistic director, Mr. Larsen devoted most of his life to the Royal Danish Ballet and was a Bournonville expert. His stagings opened up a wider view of Romantic ballet than seen in ballets like "Giselle," choreographed in France but reworked later in Russia. He also kept the Danish version of commedia dell'arte alive as artistic director of the Pantomime Theater in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens from 1956 to 1980.

Considered one of the great Bournonville mimes, Mr. Larsen stressed the complex feelings of the choreographer's folk characters, from Italian lemonade sellers to Scandinavian trolls and Madge, the witch in "La Sylphide."

Born in Copenhagen, he entered the Royal Danish Ballet School at 7, made his official debut with the company in 1933 and became a principal in 1942. Mr. Larsen furthered his gift for mime and character dancing while touring, from 1935 to 1939, with the Trudi Schoop Comic Ballet headed by Ms. Schoop, a Swiss dancer and pantomime artist.

Later, as an actor-dancer, he was acclaimed in a variety of roles, including Dr. Coppelius in "Coppélia." His numerous guest appearances with foreign companies included a "Coppélia" opposite Alicia Alonso with the California Ballet in 1957 and 1959.

During World War II Mr. Larsen headed his own company, Niels Bjorn Balleten, for which he choreographed 13 works. He was the first in Denmark to choreograph productions of American musicals, including "Annie Get Your Gun," "Show Boat" and "Oklahoma!"

Despite his work in other companies, Mr. Larsen was identified with the Royal Danish Ballet. He was its artistic director from 1951 to 1956 and from 1958 to 1965.

He choreographed his first work for the company, "The Dethroned Animal Tamer," in 1944 and invited international choreographers like George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Kenneth MacMillan and Roland Petit to stage their works for the Royal Danish Ballet. He gave his farewell performance, as Madge, in 1986.

Mr. Larsen's wife, Elvi Henriksen, died in January. He is survived by his daughter, Dinna Bjorn, artistic director of the Finnish Ballet in Helsinki.

[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]

[ Contact Forum Admin ]

Forum timezone: GMT-5
VF Version: 3.00b, ConfDB:
Before posting please read our privacy policy.
VoyForums(tm) is a Free Service from Voyager Info-Systems.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Voyager Info-Systems. All Rights Reserved.