Johan Renvall

Johan Renvall was a Swedish-born principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre who stunned audiences there from 1978 to 1996 with his spectacular classical technique. As the original Bronze Idol in Natalia Makarova’s 1980 production of La Bayadère, he appeared as a temple statue come to life, near-naked in gold body paint. He first came to ballet as a figure skater who had won medals in Swedish and Nordic championships, and he joined the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1977. After winning the silver medal at the Varna Competition the following year, he joined ABT. Jacob’s Pillow first engaged him in 1981 to perform as part of an all-star presentation at Springfield’s Symphony Hall, and he performed as part of mixed bills at the Pillow in 1983 and 1984. He organized his own small troupe known as Johan Renvall and the Stars of American Ballet, performing with them in a week of Pillow performances in 1990. Attracted by the Pillow and fellow ABT dancers who owned property nearby, Renvall built a vacation home in Becket which he maintained for a number of years. He died in August 2015 of liver failure at age 55.
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