Famous French Dancer Jean Babilée Passed Away at the End of January, He Was 90 Years Old

On Thursday 30 January one of the most outstanding performers of the 50s and 60s dance generation, French dancer Jean Babilée, passed away, just days before his 91st birthday. A dancer, who was nicknamed the rebel of ballet due to his unorthodox views on dance and lifestyle. Stellar part of his career began in 1946 in the famous ballet choreographed by Roland Petit Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (Young Man and the Death) . He volunteered to dance it again even in his 61 years of age and the New York Times wrote about a triumph. Jean Babilée (real name Jean Gutmann) was born on 2 February 1923. He studied ballet at the School of the Paris Opera, but in the early days his career was interrupted by the war – he was half Jewish after his father. First, he escaped from Paris, where he has already danced at the Opera in 1940, before the capture of the city, and took refuge in Cannes. When he returned two years later, he narrowly escaped an imminent forced labor in the Reich. By the end of the war he remained active in the domestic resistance. After the war he returned to dance and as a stage name he chose his mother's maiden name. Collaboration with the choreographer Roland Petit has become his fate. He was a soloist of Petit’s companies, Les Ballet des Champs Elysées and Les Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit and he also choreographed several pieces for them. From the 40s his popularity as a technically proficient, manly dancer gifted with great force increased, it was said of him that he has the best jumps since Nijinsky. Only Rudolf Nurejev surpassed his worldwide fame. In the 50s he danced as a guest at the Paris Opera and Aerial Ballet Theatre. Then he led his own company, Les Ballets Jean Babilée (1955-1959). Between 1972 and 1973 he was the head of the ballet in Strasbourg. Maurice Béjart created a ballet for him called Life. He also focused on drama and starred in several films of the French New Wave. His last time on stage was in 2003 at the age of 80. In 2000 a film Le Mystère Babilée was made about him (directed by Patrick Bensard).

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