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Pamela Moberg

Swedish ballet historian Bengt Häger dies at 95

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Professor Bengt Häger, b. Malmö, Sweden 1916, former director of the Swedish Dance Museum has passed away. His interest in ballet began when his mother who was a pianist took him to see a performance with Anna Pavlova. Not an unusual introduction to a life dedicated to ballet!

He originally studied to become an economist, but traveled early in Europe, where he met Michail Fokine who is supposed to have told him: "You will never be a dancer, you are too tall".

He never did dance, but organized tours and lectures, invited artists like Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham amongst others and founded The Dance Museum in Stockholm to which he acquired the collections of Rolf de Mare.

He also wrote a great number of books on dance, a recent one was a large volume on "Les ballets Suedois". His wife, Lilavati Devi, predeceased him 2002.

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Didn't realize someone who saw Pavlova perform was still alive... Sounds like a life well spent. Have you been to his Dance Museum?

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I am so sorry to hear of his death -- he was part of a wonderful generation of dance historians and writers. His book on the Suedois is worth looking for -- a fascinating company that doesn't get as much attention as they deserve.

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In reply to Amy Reusch - yes, they are getting fewer these days, those who saw Pavlova live. I am very much by proxy - studied with Madame Cleo Nordi who was once in Pavlova's company. And while a small girl I met a lady who was in charge of the couture department in a shop. Pavlova had come to the shop to have the top layers of her Le Cygne tutu replaced. I was very much in awe.

About the Dance Museum in Stockholm, if you have your ways around, dont miss it! It is one of the few museums totally dedicated to dance of all kinds.

I did donate a "wayang" cloth I had to them - it is a kind of trad. Balinese patterned fabric. Now I havent been there for some time, but every time I visit I always buy a great supply of postcards in the museum shop. They have printed a lot of different Marie Taglioni lithographs in postcard size, could probably be purchased by mail order as well.

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