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Niels Larsen, 89; Danish Mime, Ballet Dancer and Artistic Director

March 22, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Niels Bjoern Larsen, 89, a former solo dancer who was also considered Denmark's leading mime artist, died March 13 in Copenhagen.

Born in that city, Larsen was trained at the school of the Royal Danish Ballet. He joined the company as a dancer in 1937 and became a solo dancer five years later.

Larsen was considered one of the best miming interpreters of Bournonville choreography, named for French-born August Bournonville, who started the modernization of Danish ballet in the 19th century.

Larsen later became artistic director of the Danish Royal Theater's ballet, staying at the reins of the Copenhagen ballet company until 1966.

Larsen, who toured the United States in the 1950s, later led the outdoor pantomime theater at Tivoli, Copenhagen's famed downtown amusement park.

He also choreographed musicals in Denmark, including "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Oklahoma!"

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