Death of Choreographer Maurice Bejart
French choreographer Maurice Beart died Thursday November 22nd in Switzerland were he was living since the late 80s. Bejart, a former dancer who turned 80 on Jan. 1, had been in and out of hospital in recent months, suffering from exhaustion as well as kidney and heart problems. He moved in 1987 from Brussels to Switzerland where he founded the troupe in the lakeside city of Lausanne. Its 35 dancers are in rehearsals for a new production called “Around the World in 80 Minutes”, to be premiered on Dec. 20 in Lausanne.
Famous for his provocation in the ballet world he ran the Bejart Ballet Lausanne in Switzerland. He was the son of the French philosopher Gaston Berger. Born in Marseille, France and founder of the Ballet de l’Etoile company in 1954, he created in 1960 the Ballet du XXe Siecle in Brussels.
In 1987 he moved to Lausanne in Switzerland, where he founded the Bejart Ballet Lausanne, one of the most famous and successful dance companies in the world.
Among his works is a thoroughly revised version of The Nutcracker, presumably inspired by his own life story, which he staged in 2000. It still uses Tchaikovsky’s original score, but completely scraps the original plot and characters, instead supplying a new story about a boy’s efforts to re-connect with his mother. We also are given a look into the boy’s strange sexual fantasies. The production design is full of erotic images – some of which are most likely shocking to many, such as wombs and vaginal openings. One of the characters is Marius Petipa, who becomes Mephisto. Another character is called Felix the Cat, presumably after the famous cartoon character.