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PASSINGS / Flemming Flindt

Danish dancer, choreographer

March 12, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Flemming Flindt, 72, a Danish dancer and choreographer perhaps best known for bringing elements of modern dance into the Royal Danish Ballet, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at his home in Sarasota, Fla.

Flindt, who also was the former artistic director of the Dallas Ballet and choreographed works for Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley in California, was born in Copenhagen on Sept. 30, 1936.

He started studying dance at the Royal Danish Ballet school in 1946 and became a member of the ballet in 1955. That same year, he went to London and became a principal dancer with the Festival Ballet. He later performed with the Bolshoi Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet.

He became director of the Royal Danish Ballet in 1966 and continued in that post until 1978. Writing in "The International Encyclopedia of Dance," Eric Aschengreen called him "the foremost Danish choreographer after Harald Lander."

Flindt created several ballets based on the plays of Eugene Ionesco, including "The Lesson," "A Young Man Must Marry" and "The Triumph of Death," which became something of a sensation because some of its scenes were danced in the nude, which had never been done by the Royal Danish Ballet.

His version of "Salome," produced in 1978, also featured nudity with his then-wife Vivi Flindt in the title role.

Aschengreen called Flindt "a man of the theater and a showman more than an original choreographer."

Much of his later years were spent as a free-lance choreographer creating works for Rudolph Nureyev ("The Overcoat" and "Death in Venice"). For Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley, he created "Out of Africa," an adaptation of the Isak Dinesen book.


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