Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dancing Diana

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dancing Diana

Article excerpt

It was inevitable that the story of Diana, ill-fated Princess of Wales, would one day become the subject of a motion picture or even a musical. Few people would have guessed that there would also be a ballet, but Danish audiences are currently enjoying the antics of Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed, and the members of the House of Windsor in a new full-length ballet by Peter Schaufuss. Negotiations are underway to take the glamorous pointe-work tragedy to London for an extended run in a West End theater.

"Creating Diana--The Princess was as big a challenge to me as an artist as anything else I've ever done," says Schaufuss about his work, which he realizes "is a very sensitive subject" and which he would characterize as a modern ballet. "I would never have faced this tremendous challenge had I not known the person behind Princess Diana to the extent that I did, and I am proud that the ballet has become such a success and generated international attention."

Schaufuss, 54, first met Princess Diana in 1986 and, as artistic director of English National Ballet, later came to work with her when she became that company's patron. Since the 1970s and '80s, when he electrified audiences in Europe and the United States with his virtuoso dancing, considerable charm, and traditional Danish knack for dramatic interpretation, Schaufuss has proven himself an enterprising person with many unexpected talents. After hosting a four-part BBC documentary series about male dancing called Dancer in 1984, Schaufuss became something of a popular celebrity in the United Kingdom; in turn he directed the English National Ballet, the Ballet of the DeutscheOper in Berlin, and finally his alma mater, the Royal Danish Ballet. He has created controversial versions of La Sylphide, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker.

In 1997 he formed his own company, the Peter Schaufuss Ballet, which is based in the small town of Holstebro in one of Denmark's northern provinces and which tours the country extensively. …

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