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MAURICE BEJART's biography

His choreographies for Rudra

Son of philosopher Gaston Berger, Maurice Béjart was born on January 1, 1927 in Marseille (France). He made his debut, first as a dancer and then as a choreographer, in Paris. In 1960, he formed his own company, the Ballet du XXe Siècle, in Brussels (Belgium). 25 years later, the troupe relocated to Lausanne (Switzerland) to be renamed Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Maurice Béjart puts down roots wherever his work takes him. It was during a tour with the Swedish Ballet Culberg (1949) that he discovered his strength for expression through choreography. Shortly afterwards, while working on a Swedish film production, he met Igor Stravinsky for the first time.

His first great triumph came in 1959, when Béjart created his monumental Rite of Spring for Maurice Huisman, the new director of Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. This ballet paved the way for the launch of Ballet du XXe siècle in 1960, which triumphed on numerous worldwide tours. The Rite of Spring was followed by his most famous work to this day, Ravel’s Bolero (1961),and later by Messe pour le temps présent (1967) and The Firebird (1970). Developing a marked taste for cultural diversity, Béjart went on to create works that expressed the core of different civilizations in the form of dance (Bhakti, Golestan, Kabuki, Dibouk, Pyramide) and illustrated a rich musical repertoire extending from Wagner to Boulez.

A natural teacher, Béjart founded the Mudra School in Brussels in 1970, and then in Dakar seven years later. In 1992, the Rudra School and Workshop opened its doors in Lausanne. The transformation of Ballet du XXe siècle into Béjart Ballet Lausanne (1987) took place without interruption. In 1992, in order to rediscover the essence of interpretation, the size of the company was trimmed to about thirty dancers. This move was followed by numerous ballets created for the new troupe: Ring um den Ring, Le Mandarin Merveilleux, King Lear – Prospero, A propos de Shéhérazade, Le Presbytère... ! , Mutationx, La Route de la soie, The Overcoat, Enfant-Roi, Lumière, Tokyo Gesture...

As well as directing plays (La Reine verte, Casta Diva, Five Modern Nô Plays, A-6-Roc), operas (Salomé, La Traviata, Don Giovanni) and films (Bhakti, Paradoxe sur le comédien), Maurice Béjart also wrote a novel, a personal diary and a play. He was granted with the Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Hirohito of Japan (1986) and was named Great Officer of the Order of the Crown by King Baudouin of Belgium (1988). In 1993, the Japan Art Association awarded him its prestigious Premium Imperial Prize, while soon after the Inamori Foundation gave him the Kyoto Prize (1999). In 1994, Maurice Béjart was elected a Free Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France. On December 4, 1995, the Pope Jean-Paul II gave him the Peace Foundation award. The city of Lausanne granted him the Bourgeoisie d’Honneur on December 3, 1996. In 2001, he received the Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle award from the hands of Jeanne Moreau.

In August 2002, he created a new troupe for the young dancers of the Rudra Bejart's school, Compagnie M, and his new ballet Mère Teresa et les enfants du monde. It premiered in Lausanne at the Théâtre de Beaulieu on October 18.

In October 2003, he paid homage to Fellini on the tenth anniversary of his death, with Ciao Federico. He received the insignia of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the Ambassador of France to Switzerland. 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of his role as director of the company. He then staged L’Art d’être grand-père together with the young dancers of the troupe. In 2005, he creates L’Amour-la Danse, a show featuring over ten scenes of his greatest ballets, and also Zarathoustra, le Chant de la Danse, his most recent major worldwide creation. In 2006, on the eve of Maurice Béjart’s eightieth birthday, he creates La Vie du danseur racontée par Zig et Puce.

From 2002 to 2007, he did four special creations for Rudra school : "Les méfaits du tabac", "Voilà l'homme", "Carnets-Tchekhov" et "Tchekhov au bois dormant".

While working on what will be his last creation, Le Tour du Monde en 80 Minutes, Maurice Béjart passes away


Maurice Bejart's choreographies for Rudra

"The Rudra Bejart School is also an intellectual and ethical way of life providing young dancers with a set of values to enable them to take their place in today’s society.  In a lax and permissive environment we need people who can stand up to life’s challenges resolutely and without aggressiveness.”    Maurice Bejart


In 2003, Bejart created a special repertoire for the School. Fully involved with his Lausanne Ballet company, he handed over the day-to-day running of the School to Michel Gascard who, under Bejart’s supervision and together with other teachers, had already been responsible for creating and putting on School shows.
Exceptionally, Bejart did not go on tour with his Company that year and spent several months creating four original dance and theatre pieces based on works by the Russian writer Anton Chekhov:

2003-2004 season: The Harmful Effects of Tobacco
2004-2005 season: Here is the Man
2005-2006 season: Chekhov Diaries
2006-2007 season: Sleeping Chekhov

" Les mefaits du tabac " | season 2003/2004

Choreographed and directed by Maurice Bejart
Musics :
With Eiji Mihara in the role of Tchekov
Costumes : Rudra Bejart
Production : Rudra Bejart

Performances :

June 13th - 14th - 15th at the Barnabe Theatre in Servion-Switzerland.
July 13th and 14th 2004 in Luxembourg


" Voila l'homme " | season 2004/2005

Choreographed and directed by Maurice Bejart ( from his original creation made in the 50th ).
Musics : Nino Rota, Jackie Gleason, Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
Texte d'Amos Kenan
With Eiji Mihara in the role of Tchekov
Costumes : Rudra Bejart
Production : Rudra Bejart

Performances :

June 30th 2005, Luxembourg - Wiltz
July 9th-10th-11th, Austria - Innsbruck
July 13th-14th-15th-16th, Austria - Graz
July 21st, Sollies Pont - France
June 7th
2006 - Italy - Bologna
June 23th 2006, Chambery - France
July 11th 2006, La Grande Motte - France
July 21st 2006, Sollies Pont - France

Maurice Bejart in the 50th   The Rudra students  


" Carnets Tchekov" | season 2005/2006

Choreographed and directed by Maurice Bejart
Musics :
Textes : Anton Tchekov
With Eiji Mihara in the role of Tchekov
Costumes : Rudra Bejart
Production : Rudra Bejart

Performances :

Creation : Theatre de Vidy Lausanne - Switzerland
March 2007, Suresnes, France



" Tchekov au bois dormant " | season 2006/2007

Choreographed and directed by Maurice Bejart
Musics : Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
Sound's effects: Jean-Bruno Meier, Citypercussion
Piano : Svetlana Bally-Andreeva
With Eiji Mihara in the role of Tchekov and Michel Gascard in the role of Marius Petipa.
Costumes : Rudra Bejart
Production : Rudra Bejart

Performances :

Creation : Theatre Metropole de Lausanne, Switzerland
July 21st & 22d 2007, Okinawa, Japan
December 12th & 13th 2007, Opera de Massy, France