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Passings | Norman Morrice

Choreographer and Royal Ballet director

January 18, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Norman Morrice, 76, a choreographer and former director of the Royal Ballet, died last week, the company announced in a statement. The exact date of his death and the cause were not announced, but British newspapers reported that he was found dead Jan. 11 at his home in London.

"Norman was the fourth director of the Royal Ballet and very much felt the responsibility of following in the illustrious footsteps of the previous directors," Royal Ballet Director Monica Mason said in a statement to Bloomberg News.

Morrice was born in Agua Dulce, Mexico, on Sept. 10, 1931. He was reared in Scotland and central England.

He trained at the Rambert Ballet School and joined Ballet Rambert in 1953. He choreographed more than 30 works for Rambert, which he helped run from 1970 to 1974, helping to transform it into a contemporary dance company.

In 1977, he replaced Kenneth Macmillan as the Royal Ballet's director. He put on two new full-length productions of "Swan Lake" (1979) and "Giselle" (1980). He stepped down in 1986.

A self-effacing man, Morrice refused complimentary tickets while director of the company, insisting on paying for his seats.

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Steve Ridzik, a pitcher for the "Whiz Kids" Philadelphia Phillies team that went to the World Series in 1950, died Jan. 8 in Bradenton, Fla., after battling heart disease for several years. A veteran of five teams over 12 seasons, he was 78.

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