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Peter Wright

(b. 1926)


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(b London, 25 Nov. 1926)

British dancer, choreographer, and director. He studied with Jooss, Volkova, and van Praagh and danced with Ballets Jooss (1945–7 and 1951–2), Metropolitan Ballet (1947–9), St James' Ballet (1948), and Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (1949–51 and 1952–5) where he also became assistant ballet master. He taught at the Royal Ballet School (1957–9), and was ballet master at Stuttgart Ballet (1961–7) where he choreographed several works and staged Giselle in 1965. During this period (1963–5) he also worked at the BBC as ballet master and choreographer for television productions, creating Peter and the Wolf (mus. Prokofiev, 1965), and others. He subsequently worked as freelance choreographer and ballet master for such companies as Cologne and Western Theatre Ballet until 1970 when he was appointed associate director of Royal Ballet, becoming director of the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1975 (renamed Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and subsequently Birmingham Royal Ballet). He created his first ballet in 1957, A Blue Rose (mus. Barber, for Royal Ballet Touring Company) and later works included The Mirror Walkers (mus. Tchaikovsky, 1962, for Stuttgart Ballet), Arpège (mus. Boieldieu, 1974), and Summertide (mus. Mendelssohn, 1976, both for Royal Ballet Touring Company). However, it was his detailed, dramatically acute stagings of the classics that brought him greatest acclaim, including Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. As a director he was also a major force in British ballet, tranforming the Royal's second company into a significant classical company, with a fine ensemble of dancers and a distinctive repertory that spanned the standard classics, revivals of major 20th-century works such as Massine's Choreartium and Jooss's The Green Table, and new works by company members like Bintley. He oversaw the company's historic re-location to Birmingham in 1990 before retiring in 1995. He was knighted in 1993.

Subjects: Dance.


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