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Ulf Gadd 1943 - 2008 - R.I.P.Ulf Gadd - Swedish dancer and choreographer


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#1 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 03:13 PM

My dear friend Ulf Gadd has passed away.

We met as children in the theater ballet school in Gothenburg, Sweden. Already as a child Ulf showed great promise - he was truly multi-talented. He created complicated sceneries for his puppet theater and educated himself in the world of art and music. I remember vividly how I as a child sat in the tram on my way to school avidly reading the libretto of "Idomeneo", of course lent to me by Ulf.

He soon moved to the Royal Opera House in Stockholm and also did a season with Harkness Ballet in NYC.

But it was obvious that he was becoming increasingly bored with classical ballet which he felt had stagnated. I remember him joking about "tulle mummies". Never having been a danseur noble himself he turned to choreography of dance-dramas. A trip to Buenos Aires inspired him to make the ballet that became very successful "Tango Buenos Aires 1907" about the very origins of tango.

Then he went to Bali to study Balinese dance. He learnt the language, converted to Hiduism and remained there. "It was like coming home, dance was there like a natural part of life", he said. He also said: "Dance in Sweden is considered odd, an alienation. One always has to explain that one is needed, that dance is a necessity".

As it is in Swedish I will translate the last passage from renowned dance critic Margareta S÷renson's obituary in Expressen.se

"Ulf Gadd received the adulation of the public, but with it also came his own demands. Facing the innermost question we are left without an answer and Ulf Gadd leaves the image of the artist who was successful but who chose to continue searching. That is an image as beautiful as it is bewildering and sad".

I leave it to others to write more in detail about Ulf's artistic achievements. For me he was perhaps the greatest friend I ever had and the sense of loss is overwhelming. I feel grateful to modern technique, my first radio interview with him I have preserved and can listen to any time. Thankyou for everything, my dearest Ulf. R.I.P.

#2 Helene

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 03:32 PM

My deepest sympathies to you on the loss of your friend. Thank you for the tribute to him that you've written here.

#3 bart

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 04:43 PM

Pamela, I also would like to extend my sympathies to you on the loss of your dear friend. Some of the phrases you quote -- "tulle mummies," "dance is a necessity" -- make me feel that Mr. Gadd was someone many of us on Ballet Talk would have enjoyed knowing and talking with.

A Google search led to the following quotation which would seem to link his interest in tango with his involvement in Balinese dance:

"Dancing Tango means taking part in a religious ritual ceremony".


The same source refers to Gadd\'s larger sociological and political interests as well.

In the eighties, the choreographer and the scriptwriter Svenerik Goude, spent six weeks in Argentina to study the origins of Tango and examine it as a dance and life form in order to demonstrate how, by the turn of the century, this dance developed and became a symbol of attitudes to life, supressed feelings and social class-distinction. It was originally a couple-dance, danced by males outside the brothel or other public places. The choreographer stages this storÝ of a well-to-do Argentine bourgeois family, howewer he expresses his opinion about the contradiction of the Swedish and other Western bourgeois societies.




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