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Rudi Van Dantzig
(August 4, 1933 - living) Holland

Rudi Van Dantzig

Dancer, choreographer and ballet director

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Born in Amsterdam, van Dantzig was six years old when the German Army invaded the Netherlands. During the following five years, van Dantzig grew up under the Nazi Occupation, and for a particularly formative period was separated from his parents when he was sent to stay in the countryside, which presumably was safer from combat and bombing.

From 1952 to 1954 was a dancer with Gaskell's Ballet Recital, rising to the rankof soloist with its successor, the Netherlands Ballet, for which he created his first choreography. In 1959, he was a founding member of the Nederlands Dans Theater.

Since his earliest choreographic essay, his works have protrayed dramatic struggles between innocence and the evils of an insensitive, grasping materialistic world.

In works such as Monument for a Dead Boy (1965), created for his lontime partner, the dancer-choreographer and designer Toer van Schayk, and Songs of Youngsters (1977), Van Dantzig was amongst the first choreographers openly to portray the homosexual struggle against an intolerant society. Monument created a sensation when performed in the late 1960s and was the first "modern" ballet role offered to Rudolf Nurejev.

In addition o contribution to world dance, Van Dantzig has made a notable contribution to gay literature with his autobiographical novel Voor een Verloren Soldaat (For a Lost Soldier, 1986), which was made into a film in 1933.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001

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