(b Sacramento, Calif., 5 Oct. 1944)
US dancer. He studied tap and ballet locally, then trained at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada, with Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, at the Royal Ballet School in London, and with Vera Volkova in Copenhagen. In 1962 he joined the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was promoted to principal in 1965. Although guesting frequently with other companies he remained at Stuttgart until 1996, forming his celebrated 30-year partnership with the ballerina Marcia Haydée. A virtuoso dancer, with a robustly masculine stage presence, he was one of the leading male artists of the latter half of the 20th century. He was noted for his interpretations of Romeo and Onegin in Cranko's stagings and created roles in many other Cranko ballets, including L'estro armonico (1963), Opus 1 (1965), Mozart Concerto (1966), Présence (1968), Taming of the Shrew (1969, the role of Petrucchio), Brouillards (1970), Poème de l'extase (1970), Carmen (1971), Initials R.B.M.E. (1972), and Traces (1973). He also created roles in Peter Wright's The Mirror Walkers (1963), MacMillan's Song of the Earth (1965), Requiem (1977), and My Brother, My Sisters (1978), Tetley's Voluntaries (1973) and Daphnis and Chloe (1975), Neumeier's Lady of the Camellias (1978) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1983), which showcased his continuing partnership with Haydée, Forsythe's Orpheus (1979), Kylián's Forgotten Land (1981), and several works by Béjart, including La Danse (1983) and Operette (1985). In 1990 he revived his childhood tap skills, starring in the Stuttgart revival of the Broadway musical On Your Toes. He retired from the stage in 1996 and was appointed artistic director of the Berlin Opera Ballet. He left Berlin in 1999 and in 2001 became founding director of the DeAnima company, near Rio de Janeiro. With choreographer Roberto de Oliveira and William Forsythe as artistic consultant, this company has built up a repertory of contemporary ballet works and also runs community projects for disadvantaged young people. Cragun is also a cartoonist, and has mounted several exhibitions of his work.
http://www.deanima.com.br Website for the DeAnima company