Maurice Béjart & Gil Roman
Maurice Béjart

Photo:Marcel imsand

From Les Ballets de l'Etoile in Paris in 1955 to the creation of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne in 1987, the choreographer has marked Dance for ever.

Maurice Béjart is born in Marseille on January 1, 1927. He begins his career in Vichy in 1946, continues with Janine Charrat, Roland Petit and especially in London as part of the International Ballet. During a tour in Sweden with the Cullberg Ballet (1949), he discovers the resources of choreographic expressionism. A Swedish film project confronts him for the first time with Stravinsky, but back in Paris, he gathers choreographic experience with compositions by Chopin, with support of the critic Jean Laurent. From now on the dancer is doubled as a choreographer.
In 1955, he confirms his thinking outside the box with the choreography of Symphonie pour un homme seul, performed by his company, Les Ballets de l'Etoile. Noticed by Maurice Huisman, the new director of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, in Brussels, he creates a triumphant The Rite of Spring (1959). In 1960 Maurice Béjart launches, in Brussels, Le Ballet du XXe Siècle, an international company touring around the world, and the number of his creations is steadily increasing: Boléro (1961), Messe pour le temps présent (1967) and L'Oiseau de Feu (1970).
In 1987, Le Ballet du XXe Siècle becomes the Béjart Ballet Lausanne and the great choreographer settles in the Olympic capital. In 1992, he decides to downsize his company to about thirty dancers to "recapture the essence of the performer" and he founds the Ecole-Atelier Rudra Béjart. Among the many ballets for this company, we find Le Mandarin merveilleux, King Lear - Prospero, À propos de Shéhérazade, Ballet for Life, MutationX, La Route de la soie, Le Manteau, Enfant-Roi, La Lumière des eaux and Lumière.
As well as directing plays (La Reine verte, Casta Diva, Cinq Nô modernes, A-6-Roc), operas (Salomé, La Traviata and Don Giovanni) and films (Bhakti, Paradoxe sur le comédien...), Maurice Béjart has also published several books (novels, memories, a personal diary and a play). In 2007, on the eve of his eightieth birthday, the choreographer creates La Vie du danseur racontée par Zig et Puce. While working on what will be his last creation, Le Tour du Monde en 80 minutes, Maurice Béjart passed away in Lausanne on November 22, 2007.

Gil Roman Artistic Director

Photo:Amelie Blanc

During more than thirty years, the dancer interpreted Maurice Béjart's most renowned ballets before becoming in turn the Artistic Director of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne.

After intensive training with Marika Besobrasova, Rosella Hightower and José Ferran, Gil Roman joined Maurice Béjart at Le Ballet du XXe Siècle in 1979. He has performed in Béjart's most renowned ballets during more than thirty years. Appointed by Maurice Béjart as his successor and Artistic Director in 2007, he creates new choreographies and preserves Béjart's legacy.
Since 1995, his choreographic work is rich in numerous creations: L'habit ne fait pas le moine, Réflexion sur Béla, Echographie d'une baleine, Casino des Esprits, Aria, Syncope, Là où sont les oiseaux, presented as a world premiere at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival, and Anima blues. Since this creation in 2013, five new pieces added up to the BBL's repertoire: 3 Danses pour Tony, Kyôdaï, Tombées de la dernière pluie, Impromptu... and t 'M et variations..., presented on December 16, 2016, in opening of the 2017 commemorations - the 30th anniversary of the BBL's creation and the 10th year of Maurice Béjart's demise.
Gil Roman's dance career, which span over 40 years, was honored in 2005 with the prestigious Danza & Danza Award for Best Dancer for his performance as Jacques Brel in Brel et Barbara. In 2006, the Monaco Dance Forum awarded him the Nijinsky Award.
In 2014, Vaud State Foundation for Culture awarded Gil Roman with the Prix for cultural awareness and, in November of the same year, he received the special Prize from Shanghai Art Festival for his work on Maurice Béjart's choreography The Ninth Symphony. In 2015, At KKL Theater in Luzern on May 15, he was rewarded with the Maya Plissetskaya Award 2015 during a special night in memory of the great dancer, who passed away a few weeks before. On May 29, 2015, Gil Roman received the insignia of Knight of the National Order of Merit (Chevalier dans l'Ordre national du Mérite) from France's Ambassador in Switzerland, His Excellency Mr. René Roudaut. This prestigious award celebrates the career, cultural influence and creative spirit of the Artistic Director.