Benjamin Harkarvy


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(b New York, 16 Dec. 1930; d New York, 30 Mar. 2002)

US dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. He studied with Chaffee and Caton, at the School of American Ballet and with Tudor, Craske, and others, making his debut with the Brooklyn Lyric Opera (1949–50). After dancing with various concert groups he taught at the Fokine School (1951–5) and in 1955 founded his own school in New York, establishing his reputation as an outstanding, if unorthodox, teacher. In 1957 he was appointed director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; in 1958 he became ballet master of Netherlands Ballet and in 1959 formed his own company, Nederlands Dans Theater, with the intention of marrying classical tradition with experiment. He was artistic co-director until 1969 and choreographed many works for the company including Septet (mus. Saint-Saëns, 1959), Madrigalesco (mus. Vivaldi, 1963), and Recital for Cello and Eight Dancers (mus. Bach, 1964). In 1969 he moved to Harkness Ballet as artistic joint director, then in 1970 became co-director of Dutch National Ballet. He resigned after a year and moved to Pennsylvania Ballet as associate director, becoming artistic director (1973–82). He created several ballets there including Time Passed Summer (mus. Tchaikovsky, 1973). After leaving he worked as a freelance choreographer and teacher, and taught at the Juilliard School from 1990, becoming director of the Dance Division in 1992.

Subjects: Dance.

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