Niels Bjørn Larsen


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(b Copenhagen, 5 Oct. 1913; d 13 Mar. 2003)

Danish dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. He studied at the Royal Danish Ballet School from 1920 and made his debut with the company in Coppélia when still a child. His official debut with RDB was in 1933 and after dancing various guest seasons with the Trudi Schoop Comic Ballet (1935–9) he was appointed solo dancer (principal) with RDB in 1942, becoming the company's most distinguished mime. During his performing career he created a wide variety of characters though he was most famous for his mysterious but touching Dr Coppelius. In 1940 he formed his own company with which he toured Scandinavia until 1946, then in 1951 he was appointed temporary artistic director of RDB, taking on the role officially between 1953 and 1956 and again between 1958 and 1965. He was also artistic director of Copenhagen's Tivoli Theatre (1956–80). From 1946 he taught at the RDB School and from 1947 taught with the company as well as choreographing extensively for ballet, opera, film, plays, and musicals, including Peter and the Wolf (mus. Prokofiev, RDB, 1960) and The Little Mermaid (mus. Henriques, Tivoli Theatre, 1977). His official farewell performance was as Madge in La Sylphide with RDB (1986) but he continued to work even into his eighties, teaching mime, performing character roles, and guesting with other companies. In 1995 he reconstructed Konservatoriet. He was father of the dancer Dinna Bjørn, and made Knight of the Dannebrog.

Subjects: Dance.

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