Kenneth von Heidecke
Kenneth von Heidecke (born December 30, 1952 in Chicago) is an American dancer, choreographer, and the founder and artistic director of Von Heidecke's Chicago Festival Ballet and Von Heidecke School of Ballet.
Von Heidecke's professional career was launched in 1975, when he was chosen as one of two male dancers for George Balanchine's world premier of "Orfeo ed Euridice" with Lyric Opera Ballet in Chicago. During production of "Orfeo ed Euridice", von Heidecke was trained by legendary prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, one of the greatest American ballerinas. Von Heidecke continued his studies with Tallchief after the Orfeo production, and Tallchief became his mentor, coaching him in the Balanchine method and repertoire.
Von Heidecke continued dancing professionally with Chicago City Ballet, Lyric Opera Ballet, Columbus’ Ballet Met, National Ballet of Italy, and Arena di Verona of Italy. In 1981, however, a mid-air collision with another dancer completely severed the ligaments in his knees and his professional dance career ended.
In 1983, von Heidecke returned to the world of dance as a choreographer and began staging works for Chicago City Ballet and Rockford Dance Company. In 1989, he commenced his international choreography career with the world premier of Les Sirenes at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival. His work received rave reviews from Britain dance critic, Nicholas Dromgoole, in London's Sunday Daily Telegraph.
From 1990–1996, von Heidecke choreographed for Kennedy Music Center Opera, Los Angeles Music Center Opera, and the 1996 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. In 1997, he was invited to choreograph four premieres for An Evening of Ballet at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Chicago Festival Ballet and School
In 1990, von Heidecke received a grant from the Chicago Artists' Coalition, which he used to found his professional ballet company, Chicago Festival Ballet, a troupe performing a repertoire of classical, romantic and neoclassical works in venues around the United States.
Also in 1990, von Heidecke opened the doors to the Von Heidecke School of Ballet in Naperville, Illinois, later expanding the school to include locations in Joliet, Illinois and Chicago, Illinois. The school provides professional instruction in the Russian Vaganova method and Balanchine method, with curriculum designed for students wishing to pursue a professional career in dance.
Maria Tallchief has served as artistic advisor to the Chicago Festival Ballet and Von Heidecke School of Ballet since its founding. On November 7, 2006, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presented a special tribute to Maria Tallchief titled "A Tribute to Ballet Great Maria Tallchief" where Tallchief officially named von Heidecke as her protégé.
- Von Heidecke's Chicago Festival Ballet
- San Diego Opera
- National Ballet of Panama
- Dracula (2006)
- Lyric Opera of Chicago
- The Ghosts of Versailles (1996–1997)
- Aida (1994–1995)
- The Bartered Bride (1992–1993)
- Un ballo in maschera (1992–1993)
- Mefistofele (1991–1992)
- Antony and Cleopatra (1991–1992)
- Le nozze di Figaro (1991–1992)
- L'elisir d'amore (1991–1992)
- Alceste (1990–1991)
- Eugene Onegin (1990–1991)
- The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe (1990–1991)
- Lucia di Lammermoor (1990–1991)
- Rigoletto (1990–1991)
- Samson and Delilah (1989–1990)
- Die Fledermaus (1989–1990)
- Hamlet (1989–1990)
- La sonnambula (1988–1989)
- La traviata (1988–1989)
- Aida (1988–1989)
- Faust (1987–1988)
- Le nozze di Figaro (1987–1988)
- La forza del destino (1987–1988)
- Un ballo in maschera (1986–1987)
- Dallas Opera
- Carmen (1996)
- San Francisco Opera
- Samson and Delilah (2007)
- Jenůfa (2001)
- New York City Opera
- U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team (1996)
- Los Angeles Music Center Opera (1990–1995)
- Le nozze di Figaro
- Kennedy Music Center Opera
- Aida (1990)
- Scotland's Edinburgh Festival
- Les Sirenes (1989)
References and footnotes
- Smith, Sid. "Tallchief puts stamp on 'Nutcracker'" Chicago Tribune, December 4, 2005 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
- Maria Tallchief with Larry Kaplan, "Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina", Henry Holt and Co., published April 15, 1997, ISBN 0-8050-3302-5.
- Alleman, Annie. "From tragedy to triumph" Joliet Herald News, November 28, 2000 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
- Nicholas, Dromgoole. London's Daily Telegraph website Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
- Mauro, Lucia. "Ballet bounty" Dance Teacher Magazine, September, 2001 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
- Dawn, Aulet. "Around Town: a high honor" Joliet Herald News, November 19, 2006 Retrieved on 2007-10-11.