Bengt Jörgen | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Bengt Jörgen

Bengt Jörgen, ballet dancer, choreographer, director (b at Stockholm, Sweden, 6 Feb 1963).

Bengt Jörgen, ballet dancer, choreographer, director (b at Stockholm, Sweden, 6 Feb 1963). As the founder of a small innovative ballet company dedicated to the development and presentation of new Canadian choreography, Jörgen has made an important contribution to the creative evolution of Canadian dance. Through the successful production of compact, touring versions of such classics as The Nutcracker (1995) and Romeo and Juliet (1998), Jörgen has also made it possible for audiences in smaller and remote communities to enjoy popular full-length ballets in live performance.

Jörgen trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and later at the National Ballet School. After graduation he joined the corps of the National Ballet of Canada (NBC) and quickly displayed an interest in choreography, showing two works, Shelter (1984) and Circle (1985), at company choreographic workshops. Although a promising dancer, Jörgen quit in 1985 to concentrate on his choreography, partly out of frustration with what he viewed as a lack of opportunity within the company. However, he did contribute a further work, Tuwat, to NBC for its smaller, touring Concert Group.

In 1986 Jörgen attended a choreographic program in England run by the Creative Dance Artists Trust. The following year he formed Ballet Jörgen in Toronto as a platform for his own choreography and to promote and nurture other young Canadian choreographers, particularly those working in the classical ballet vocabulary. He won the Banff Centre's prestigious Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award in 1993.

Jörgen has created more than 30 ballets for his company. In 1995 he created Swedish Songs for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which was later staged by the State Ballet of Missouri (now Kansas City Ballet). His 1998 Romeo and Juliet has also been staged by the Hong Kong Ballet.