Choreographer Maurice Bejart dies in Switzerland
French contemporary choreographer Maurice Béjart died Thursday at the age of 80 in Lausanne, a spokeswoman with the Béjart Ballet confirmed.
He had been in hospital since November 16 suffering from heart and kidney problems.
He was born in Marseilles in France in 1927 and made his debut as a dancer in Paris.
He later discovered his strength for expression through choreography and made his reputation working with pieces by Stravinsky.
His major triumph was with Rite of Spring in 1959 which paved the way for him to form his own company Ballet du XXe Siècle in Brussels in 1960.
Rite of Spring was followed by Boléro (1961) and The Firebird (1970). The dance group moved to Lausanne in 1987, changing its name to the Béjart Ballet Lausanne.
Health problems had forced Bejart to cut down on his activities recently.
However, he was still actively involved in the preparation of Around the World in 80 Minutes, which was to open in Lausanne on December 20, be performed in Paris in February before going on a world tour.
With more than 250 ballet choreographies to his credit, Bejart was considered one of the giants of contemporary dance.