Kenneth von Heidecke

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Kenneth von Heidecke (born on 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.

Dance career[edit]

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.[1] During production of "Orfeo ed Euridice", von Heidecke was trained by legendary prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, one of the greatest American ballerinas.[2] 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.[3]

Choreography career[edit]

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.[4]

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.

During the next decade, he choreographed for groups such as New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, National Ballet of Panama and San Diego Opera.

Von Heidecke has also coached numerous opera stars in stylized movement, including Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Denyce Graves, June Anderson, Viktoria Vizzen and Karita Mattila.

Chicago Festival Ballet and School[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Selected choreography[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Sid. "Tallchief puts stamp on 'Nutcracker'" Chicago Tribune, December 4, 2005 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
  2. ^ Maria Tallchief with Larry Kaplan, "Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina", Henry Holt and Co., published April 15, 1997, ISBN 0-8050-3302-5.
  3. ^ Alleman, Annie. "From tragedy to triumph" Joliet Herald News, November 28, 2000 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
  4. ^ Nicholas, Dromgoole. London's Daily Telegraph website Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
  5. ^ Mauro, Lucia. "Ballet bounty" Dance Teacher Magazine, September, 2001 Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
  6. ^ Dawn, Aulet. "Around Town: a high honor" Joliet Herald News, November 19, 2006 Retrieved on 2007-10-11.

External links[edit]