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Why ballet star Béjart made the move to Lausanne

Published on 7/15/2016 by
Maurice Béjart (Beaulieu Lausanne, MCH Group)

The French ballet dancer and choreographer Maurice Béjart was a star. Since 1987, his world-famous dance ensemble has been making guest appearances in the Palais de Beaulieu. Lausanne owes that to a lucky combination of circumstances.

Béjart is considered to be the revitaliser of neo-classical ballet and it was he who emancipated the male dancers from their role as mere lifting partners. Béjart's career began in Brussels in the 1960s. When the Belgian capital no longer offered him the necessary independence for his artistic work and refused him financial support for an art festival, he started to look for a new base. He was already familiar with Lausanne and the Palais de Beaulieu from several stays there. With Paris, Milan and Bari, however, there were daunting competitors.

In the end, the star choreographer decided in favour of Lausanne and the Palais de Beaulieu. "This is the beginning of something big. We are proud to welcome Maurice Béjart" was what the then city mayor, Paul-René Martin, had to say to the "24 heures" newspaper. Martin's enthusiasm and perseverance in canvassing for Béjart had contributed greatly to this decision.

The Béjart Ballet Lausanne began its first rehearsals halfway through August 1987 in a gymnasium. After that year's Comptoir Suisse closed, the troupe moved into the Palais de Beaulieu, where it is still performing today. Maurice Béjart died in Lausanne in November 2007.
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