(b Kowarschen, 22 Sept. 1944)
German dancer. She studied at the schools of both the Stuttgart Ballet and the Royal Ballet, joining Stuttgart Ballet in 1961. In 1964 she was promoted soloist and rapidly became one of its leading ballerinas. A tall, elegant, almost ethereal dancer with a pure classical technique, she performed much of the standard ballerina repertory but also created roles in many works, including MacMillan's Las Hermanas (1963), Song of the Earth (1965), Miss Julie (1970), and My Brother, My Sisters (1978); Cranko's Opus 1 (1965), Salade (1968), Orpheus (1970), and Initials R.B.M.E.; Tetley's Voluntaries (1973) and Greening (1975); Kylián's Return to the Strange Land (1974) and Forgotten Land (1981); and van Manen's Shaker Loops (1987). She guested with many companies around the world including American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet, and Paris Opera and appeared on television in MacMillan's The Seven Deadly Sins (1984), among others. After retiring from the stage in 1995 she set up the Birgit Keil Foundation in Stuttgart and in 1997 became professor, then director of the Dance Academy in Mannheim. In 2003 she also took over direction of the ballet company at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe. She was recipient of the Order of Merit, First Class, of the German Federal Republic (1982).