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Michael Bjerknes


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Alexandra

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:28 PM

I am sadder than I can say to have to post this. Michael was a fine classical dancer (Houston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Joffrey Ballet), wonderful teacher and incredible human being. He was also a charter member of this board. I don't have any details. He had been ill for some time, but only a few weeks ago his wife told me he was back teaching. This is the email from Pam Bjerknes that was sent to friends.

Dear friends,

Michael passed away early this morning. I was with him when he died and he was at peace.

I am planning a service and will let everyone know soon what we will be doing. I am home with my family and will continue to lean on family, friends and colleagues to help us through.

All classes at ADI will continue as scheduled. Michael wanted us to keep moving forward.

Thank you for your kindness and support.
Pam B.
Michael Bjerknes
December 6, 1956 - April 14, 2008

“Help young people of all ages create art and hopeful peace rather than war and dividing hate”
Michael
(April 10, 2008)


#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:44 PM

What sad news. I had the good fortune to interview Michael, and speak to him on other topics as well. I wish there had been the opportunity to meet in person.

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 05:33 PM

“Help young people of all ages create art and hopeful peace rather than war and dividing hate”
Michael
(April 10, 2008)


Such beautiful words...

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:00 PM

Yes, Cristian. Beautiful words, and he lived that sentiment.

Here's a link to an interview I did with Michael several years ago for the old Ballet Alert!

Interview with Michael Bjerknes

#5 vrsfanatic

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:21 PM

Very, very sad news. May he rest in peace. May his family pass through this difficult time and the years to come knowing that his memory will be honored by many.

#6 Alina

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:27 PM

I am not sure how to express the grief I feel over this news. I did not know Michael well but we shared time in class at Maggie Black's over the years. He was also a friend of friends of mine and in more recent years we shared a few personal communications about our lives as teachers through this board. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, his family, and his students. So young to leave us. We have lost a truly special person in the ballet world. His inspiration will undoubtably live on in all that he touched. But his depature from this earth seems incredibly premature and surely unexplainable to all those that loved him. May your spirit dance on, dear Michael. You left an indelible mark on so many of us that love this world of dance.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:36 PM

Yes, Cristian. Beautiful words, and he lived that sentiment.

Here's a link to an interview I did with Michael several years ago for the old Ballet Alert!

Interview with Michael Bjerknes


Wow, what a great interview, Alexandra...! ( i MUST quote a segment from it that was just great :clapping: )

RIP Michael Bjerknes

#8 Dale

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 06:53 AM

Such sad news. I only knew him from the board, on which he came off as lively, intelligent, and caring.

#9 Natalia

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:00 AM

This is incredibly sad news. May Michael rest in peace.

#10 glebb

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:18 AM

We were friends at Joffrey in the 80s and though friendships come and go ours never wavered. Just last year Michael and Pam presented my Joffrey apprentices for the second year in a row at their school in Rockville, MD. Michael and Pam always had me over for dinner at their home when we toured to Kennedy Center. I was at their home two Thanksgivings ago. Michael and Pam have raised three beautiful and intelligent children and they have served the dance community with much generosity and great dignity for many years via their excellent school. I will miss Michael's advice.
My thoughts go out to Pam and their three children.
Thank you for all you have given me Michael.

#11 cantdance

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:16 AM

I remember meeting him when they first opened their beautiful studios in Maryland. I would watch him teach class through the observation window and wish I was good enough to take his class.
I have always enjoyed attending performances in their studio theatre and I will be there this weekend when ABTII performs. He would introduce the company.
I am so grateful he provided these opportunities. RIP

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:19 AM

A fine dancer of refined taste, an intellectual powerhouse, and a real gentleman. Farewell, Michael. We shall meet again in the sweet bye-and-bye.

May he have eternal rest,
May light perpetual shine upon him.

#13 Robert Bettmann

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 05:27 PM

I don't know why it makes me so sad that Michael died. I first met in 2003. We talked a few times, but not much. We weren't close. But I really appreciated him, and ADI. It's really hard to do what he did - to create a real pre-professional school from the ground up. And he did it. In the process he created a community for us, for me.

I didn't spend a lot of time at adi. Rehearsed there a few times with a few people. My strongest memory is being there for Ed Tyler. But it makes me really sad that he's gone. I know there are a lot of people like me - who weren't close, but who loved him. We'll all miss him.

#14 carbro

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 07:19 PM

Thank you for your sweet remembrance, Robert. It's all the more poignant for your claim that you weren't particularly close.

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 07:57 AM

I think Robert captured beautifully the essence of Michael. He did touch people who barely knew him. He was one of the warmest, kindest people I've ever known, and he had a very gentle charisma: you wanted to be around him, and to be part of whatever it was he was doing. This year, he'd planned something beautiful for his students -- and any students in the area: a series of performances and master classes by various studio companies (Paul Taylor 2, ABT 2, etc.) so that his students could see, as he said, the dancers they were about to be.


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