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Born in 1905, Harold Lander, was a Danish dancer and choreographer who was primarily responsible for rebuilding the faltering Royal Danish Ballet into a superb performing organization.
Lander studied under the great ballet master and reformer Michel Fokine in 1926-27 and danced in leading roles until 1945. As ballet master of the Royal Danish Ballet he enriched its repertoire with productions of Fokine’s masterpieces such as, Les Sylphides, Petrushka, and Prince Igor and revivals of works by the great 19th-century Danish choreographer August Bournonville. His own compositions include the frequently performed Etudes, a one-act ballet that begins with traditional ballet exercises at a dance studio’s “barre” and ends with spectacular displays by advanced students.
After becoming ballet master of the Paris Opera in 1953, he became a French citizen in 1956 and opened a studio in Paris in 1964. He was decorated by the governments of Denmark, Belgium, and France for his contributions to modern ballet. Lander returned to Copenhagen shortly before his death in 1971.