Constantin Patsalas

 Constantin Patsalas, choreographer, character dancer (b at Thessaloníki, Greece 1 Aug 1943; d at Toronto 19 May 1989). Trained in Germany at the Folkwang Hochschule, Patsalas joined the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA in 1972, becoming resident choreographer in 1980. In 1979 his ballet Piano Concerto (score by A. Ginastera) won first prize in the Boston Ballet's Choreographic Competition. Patsalas's works range widely in style from the abstract (The Rite of Spring, Nataraja) to the romantic (Canciones, L'Île inconnue) or even punk (Past of the Future), and his ballet Oiseaux Exotiques (commissioned score by Harry FREEDMAN, 1984) blends outrageous fantasy with South American folk themes.

Patsalas's imaginative choreography is unified by its uncompromising stylistic faithfulness to the inspiring score, its structural integrity and its inventive exploration of dynamic contrasts in mood and movements. Before Erik BRUHN, artistic director of the National Ballet, died in April 1986, he expressed a wish that Patsalas should have a role in the company's continuing artistic direction, but rifts soon developed between him and the 3 co-directors appointed by the board of directors. In a rancorous separation, Patsalas left the National Ballet in September 1986 to pursue an independent career and was able to stage a season of his choreography before ill health prevented further activity. Because of a legal dispute over the National Ballet's right to perform the works he created for it, his choreography effectively died with him.