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Kenneth von Heidecke
Choreographer and founder Chicago Festival Ballet
Kenneth von Heidecke was founder and chief choreographer of the Chicago Festival Ballet. He was also a renowned choreographer for opera and ballet companies around the world having choreographed over 60 operas and 80 ballets. Von Heidecke began his career as a dancer, working his way through the ranks of many prominent companies such as La Scala in Milan, Rome Opera, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Met and Chicago City Ballet. Most significantly, he was hand-chosen by legendary Prima Ballerina Assoluta Maria Tallchief to appear in the 1975 world premiere of George Balanchine’s Orfeo ed Euridice, a ground-breaking moment in his career. Over the years, Tallchief continued to coach Von Heidecke in the Balanchine repertoire and referred to him as her protégé. Mr. von Heidecke’s works have been on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight news program, WTTW’s “Arts Across Illinois” entertainment special, PBS’ “Making of an Opera” and a PBS documentary on Maria Tallchief’s life. In 2008 he was inducted into the Fox Valley Hall of Fame. He has appeared on ABC, WGN, and NBC, and currently, film maker and composer Stuart Meyer recently completed a documentary on Mr. Von Heidecke’s life, and a sneak preview of the film was viewed to a standing ovation.
Mr. von Heidecke passed away suddenly on December 11, 2021. His vision and legacy will live on in the many dancers he taught and inspired through the years, and in the many students who continue to study and be inspired at VH Dance Center.