(b Cleveland, 3 Feb. 1926; d Palm Beach, 26 Jan. 2007)
US dancer, choreographer, and director. He began his dance training while a medical student at New York University (1946–8) studying part time with Holm, Graham, Craske, Tudor, and at the School of American Ballet. He performed as an apprentice dancer with Holm's company between 1946 and 1951, also appearing in Holm's Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate in 1948. He then danced with New York City Opera (1952–4) and John Butler's company (1953–5), performing in the premiere of Gian-Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors (NBC Television, 1951), which was choreographed by Butler. Between 1956 and 1957 he was with the newly formed Joffrey Ballet, then spent two years dancing with Martha Graham creating the role of the Stranger in Embattled Garden and Apollo in Clytemnestra (both 1958). He returned to Broadway to dance in Holm's Juno (1959) then joined American Ballet Theatre (1960–1), and Robbins's Ballets: USA (1961). Having fallen out with Robbins he created his own company, in 1962.
Tetley had begun choreographing in the 1940s but it was with his own company that he established his reputation and his distinctive style—a then revolutionary fusion of classical and modern idioms. His breakthrough work was Pierrot Lunaire (mus. Schoenberg, 1962, which featured himself in the title role). The success of this work led to an invitation from Nederlands Dans Theater in 1964 to work with the company as dancer and choreographer, and eventually as co-director (with van Manen, 1969–71). In 1967 he also formed an association with Ballet Rambert, becoming central to that company's transition from ballet company to modern dance troupe and creating among other works the T'ai Chi-inspired Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain (1968). During the late 1960s and early 1970s Tetley was considered a revolutionary, bringing the music of Berio and Stockhausen and the language of modern dance into the repertories of companies like The Royal Ballet. From the mid-1970s, however, his work became more lyrical and more classical in its focus. In 1974 he took over the artistic direction of the Stuttgart Ballet, where he remained for two years, adding ten of his works to the repertoire. From 1987 to 1989 he was artistic associate of the National Ballet of Canada.
Tetley was a prolific choreographer, his works entering the repertories of numerous companies, both classical and modern. A list of his creations includes Mountain Way Chant (mus. Chavez, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 1959), Pierrot lunaire (mus. Schoenberg, Glen Tetley company, 1962), The Anatomy Lesson (mus. M. Landowski, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), 1964), Sargasso (mus. Krenek, NDT, 1964), Field Mass (mus. Martinů, NDT, 1965), Mythical Hunters (mus. O. Partos-Hezionot, Batsheva Dance Company, 1965), Ricercare (mus. M. Seter, American Ballet Theatre, 1966), Chronochromie (mus. Messiaen, Glen Tetley company, 1966), Psalms (mus. Partos-Tehilim, Batsheva Dance Company, 1966), Freefall (mus. M. Schubel, University of Utah Repertory Dance Theatre, 1967), The Seven Deadly Sins (mus. Weill, Glen Tetley company, 1967), Ziggurat (mus. Stockhausen, Ballet Rambert, 1967), Circles (mus. Berio, NDT, 1968), Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain (mus. Subotnick, Ballet Rambert, 1968), Arena (mus. Subotnick, NDT, 1969), Field Figures (mus. Stockhausen, Royal Ballet, 1970), Imaginary Film (mus. Schoenberg, NDT, 1970), Mutations (with van Manen, mus. Stockhausen, NDT, 1970), Rag Dances (mus. A. Hymas, Ballet Rambert, 1971), Threshold (mus. Berg, Hamburg State Opera, 1972), Laborintus (mus. Berio, Royal Ballet, 1972), Small Parades (mus. Varèse, NDT, 1972), Gemini (mus. Henze, Australian Ballet, 1973), Voluntaries (mus. Poulenc, Stuttgart Ballet, 1973), Le Sacre du printemps (mus. Stravinsky, Munich Ballet, 1973), Tristan (mus. Henze, Paris Opera, 1975), Daphnis and Chloe (mus. Ravel, Stuttgart Ballet, 1975), Greening (mus. A. Nordheim, Stuttgart Ballet, 1975), Sphinx (mus. Martinů, American Ballet Theatre, 1977), Contredances (mus. Webern, American Ballet Theatre, 1979), The Tempest (mus. Nordheim, Ballet Rambert, 1979), Dances of Albion (mus. Britten, Royal Ballet, 1980), Summer's End (mus. Dutilleux, NDT, 1980), The Firebird (mus. Stravinsky, Royal Danish Ballet, 1981), Murderer, Hope of Women (mus. percussion arranged by Tyrrell, Ballet Rambert, 1983), Pulcinella (mus. Stravinsky, London Festival Ballet, 1984), Revelation and Fall (mus. Maxwell, Australian Dance Theatre, 1984), Dream Walk of the Shaman (mus. Krenek, Aterballeto, 1985), Alice (mus. Del Tredici, National Ballet of Canada, 1986), Orpheus (mus. Stravinsky, Australian Ballet, 1987), La Ronde (mus. Korngold, National Ballet of Canada, 1987), Tagore (mus. Zemlinsky, National Ballet of Canada, 1989), Amores (mus. Torke, Royal Ballet, 1997), and Lux in Tenebris (mus. Sofia Gubaidulina, Houston Ballet, 1999).