Imre Eck


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(b Budapest, 2 Dec. 1930; d 1999)

Hungarian dancer, choreographer, and director. He studied with Nádasi, and danced with Budapest State Opera Ballet (1946–60) where he was promoted character solo dancer in 1950. He began choreographing in the 1950s, creating his first major work for BSOB in 1958—Csongor and Tünde (mus. L. Weiner), then in 1960 he founded the Ballet Sopianae, based in Pécs, which he directed until 1968 but continued with as chief choreographer until 1993. Though Eck began his career in isolation from modern developments in Western ballet he created a repertory that was, for Hungary, avant-garde. His early ballets were centred around strong, even sensational themes while his style mixed classical vocabulary with jazz, acrobatics, and expressionist dance. Many of his ballets were set to music by Bartók and other Hungarian composers, including the first production of W. Bukovy's Hiroshima (1962). Other works for Ballet Sopianae included The Wooden Prince (mus. Bartók) and The Miraculous Mandarin (mus. Bartók, both 1965), Lulu (mus. Berg, 1967), Salome (mus. Petrovics, 1979), and Carmina Burana (mus. Orff, 1989). His works for BSOB included Le Sacre du printemps (mus. Stravinsky, 1963) and Ondine (mus. Henze, 1969). He also choreographed for Finnish National Ballet, for example Tempest (mus. Sibelius, 1974) and Swan of Tuonela (mus. Sibelius, 1988).

Subjects: Dance.

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