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Michael Bjerknes

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#16 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:14 AM

Like Robert, I can't really say why I feel so sad, but like him, I do. I only knew Michael through his posts here, as "mbjerk" -- but everything he said seemed so thoughtful, considered, "rounded," i always wanted to know what he thought about anything. THe smallest insight might grow into the biggest realization, and anything he said seemed to have real life in it. "Ballet is one of those things you do in order to find out why you do it."

#17 bart


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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:52 AM

Thank you, Paul, for giving us Mr. Bjerknes's screen name, which I did not know. I recall, when I first saw mbjerk's posts, being intrigued by what I took to be a charming willingness to acknowledge in himself a little bit of the "jerk" that lies in all of us but is frequently ignored or denied. The name, and the quality of his brief comments, led me to search for other posts, which revealed someone who carried his impressive experience and knowledge lightly and with gentle wit.

Here's one, from 2003, I've never forgotten:

Markova coached me in Les Sylphides where she constantly told my partner not to jump, help or anything. Her words were, "Make him lift you!" It was the first time that I heard someone tell the woman not to at least feel a releve into a lift. I think I remember Freddie Franklin telling stories of how he partnered Markova in pirouettes telling us that he made the turns and she just help her pose.

Markova was wonderful. Another line was, "Of course if I were in training I would show you exactly." She was a true grand dame.

This world needs dancers, teachers, and friends like mbjerk. I join others in extending my sympathy to his family, colleagues, and friends.

#18 Hans


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Posted 18 April 2008 - 01:59 PM

I had the privilege of taking one of Michael's open classes at ADI in addition to conversing with him on BT. It was a great pleasure to have met him.

#19 Alexandra


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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:45 AM

Lisa Traiger wrote a beautiful appreciation of Michael Bjerknes in her danceviewtimes blog:

Michael Bjerknes

Michael was funny, sometimes wickedly so, but not when it came to technique or performance. My daughter would come home breathless and tell me how challenging and demanding his classes and rehearsals were. And I can attest to that. I took just one adult ballet class from him, barely got through it and he suggested, kindly but unmistakably, that I shouldn’t come back to his class. The petite allegro combinations were lightening quick, the grand allegro, a sweeping combination of weight changes, tours en l’air and grande jetes, and the adagio was a lovely … and long … meditation of promenades, developes, balances and a death-defying penche. It was all so beautiful … and so much more than my modern-trained 40-something body could accomplish.

#20 cantdance



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Posted 31 December 2009 - 03:49 PM

I hope it's ok to post this here. Today one of my teachers posted a youtube video on my Facebook page of "EPODE" 1979. Rehearsal footage which has Michael Bjerknes. I still drop in at ADI to take class.

#21 Helene



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Posted 31 December 2009 - 04:26 PM

Many thanks, cantdance. (And many thanks, glebb, for posting this to YouTube!)

#22 bart


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Posted 31 December 2009 - 04:46 PM

This is a marvelous record, especially considering that it is a rehearsal in practice clothes. The focus, quite rightly, is on Patricia Miller. But all 4 men are such thoughtful partners, each making the work seem effortless. Which is Mr. Bjerknes?

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 05:10 PM

With Michael, that was always an easy question to answer: The very tallest one! :)

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