Hans Beck


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(b Haderslev, 31 May 1861; d Copenhagen, 9 Jun. 1952)

Danish dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. His greatest achievement was the preservation of the Bournonvillle repertoire. He studied at the Royal Danish Ballet School and made his debut in 1871 (with Bournonville among the audience). He became a soloist in 1881 and performed all the leading male roles in the Bournonville repertoire. He was ballet master of the Royal Danish Ballet from 1894 to 1915 and ensured that the repertoire was dedicated to keeping alive the Bournonville legacy. It is his editions of Bournonville which continue to be performed in Copenhagen. He choreographed the solo variations for the last act of a new production of Napoli, and his production of Coppélia (1896) proved enduringly popular. Out of his own ballets, the best known was The Little Mermaid (1909), based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy-tale and set to music by Fini Henriques. Ellen Price, who danced the title role, was the inspiration behind the famous statue in Copenhagen's harbour.

Subjects: Dance.

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