Basil Thompson, 67, a former ballet soloist and ballet master for the Joffrey and Milwaukee ballet companies, died Tuesday in Lynchburg, Va., of cardiac arrest. He was on sabbatical from the University of Iowa, where he had taught since 2000.
Trained by the Sadlers Wells Ballet School in London, Thompson began his performance career with the Covent Garden Opera Ballet. In 1955, he moved to the Sadlers Wells Ballet Company, now London's Royal Ballet.
Returning to the U.S. in 1958, he taught ballet in Los Angeles until 1960, when he became a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.
Thompson joined the Joffrey Ballet, now based in Chicago, as ballet master in 1967, working closely with Robert Joffrey during the company's creative peak. Recently, Thompson had reconstructed "Petrouchka" for the Joffrey's Nureyev Tribute, and had attended a performance last week.
In 1981, Thompson became ballet master of the Milwaukee Ballet. After the collapse of its joint venture with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Thompson was asked to restore the Milwaukee company. From 1995 to 2000, he was the company's artistic director.