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Finnish National Ballet


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Finland's national ballet company. It was founded (as the Finnish Opera Ballet) in 1921 under the direction of Edvard Fazer who imported George Gé from St Petersburg Imperial Ballet as ballet master. Gé staged Swan Lake in 1922 followed by other 19th-century classics as well as works by Fokine. In 1934 Gé was succeeded by Alexander Saxelin, a Russian character dancer, but he returned to the company as ballet master from 1955 to 1962. After Gé's death Beriozoff was appointed to the post, staging Esmeralda for the ballerina Maj-Lis Rajala, his own version of Sleeping Beauty, and a new staging of Sacre du printemps. In 1970 the Finnish choreographer Elsa Sylvestersson became ballet mistress, followed by Konstantin Damianov, with Juhani Raiskinen as director from 1974. The repertory expanded to include Soviet ballets such as Fountain of Bakhchisarai and Stone Flower, as well as works by European and native Finnish choreographers. Doris Laine was made prima ballerina in 1956 and other principal dancers included Leo Ahonen and Matti Tikkanen. Laine was director from 1984 to 1992 and was replaced by Jorma Uotinen, under whose direction the company's repertory expanded to embrace a wide range of modern ballet including works by himself, Carlson, Forsythe, Preljocaj, Naharin, as well as a new staging of Giselle by Guillem (1998), her first major production for the stage. In 2001 Dinna Bjorn became director, adding new works by Elo, Ek, and Kylián to the repertory, and in 2008 was succeeded by Kenneth Greve.

http://www.operafin.fi Website for the Finnish Opera House with link to the Finnish National Ballet

Subjects: Dance.


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