Dancer and Choreographer Fernando Bujones Dies at 50

Classic Arts News   Dancer and Choreographer Fernando Bujones Dies at 50
Fernando Bujones, the artistic director of Orlando Ballet and a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, died yesterday in Miami, Orlando Ballet announced. He was 50.

Bujones was diagnosed earlier this year with lung cancer, but he died from malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, according to the company.

Born in Miami, Bujones studied at the School of American Ballet in New York. He made his professional debut in 1970, at the age of 15, with the Andre Eglevsky Ballet Company; two years later, he joined ABT.

In 1974, at 19, Bujones won a gold medal at the Vana International Ballet Competition, the first male American to do so. The same year, he was named a principal dancer with ABT, the youngest in the history of the company.

In the years that followed, he made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and many other companies around the world; he also had a long relationship with Boston Ballet. He gave his farewell performance at ABT in 1995. "Anyone who remembers the awe-inspiring combination of power and purity that Mr. Bujones delivered in his solos inLa Bayadre will realize how much he has contributed to classical ballet since he thrilled audiences as a teenage prodigy at the School of American Ballet," New York Times critic Anna Kisselgoff wrote at the time.

A choreographer and teacher for much of his career, Bujones made dances for American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, and other companies. Starting in the 1990s, he directed Ballet Mississippi, Madrid's Ballet Clasico Mediterraneo, and Mexico's Ballet de Monterrey. He was appointed artistic director of Orlando Ballet in 2000.

"Fernando came to Orlando Ballet and took an average local company and made it into a world-class organization," Tricia Earl, the former president of the company, said.

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