Obituary: Adam Darius

Multi-talented dancer who choreographed The Anne Frank Ballet


The American mime artist, dancer, choreographer and writer Adam Darius, best known for choreographing The Anne Frank Ballet, has died in Espoo, Finland, at the age of 87.

Born in New York City, Darius began his dance training at 14, and studied ballet with many of the legendary Russian dancers of the era, including Anatole Oboukhov, George Goncharov and Olga Preobrajenska, as well as contemporary dance with José Limón.

During the 1950s and 1960s, he danced and choreographed for such ballet and opera companies as Britain’s International Ballet, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Denmark’s Scandinavian Ballet, the Israel National Opera and his own company the Israeli Ballet. From 1967, Darius began to focus on developing his own style of expressive dance and mime. In a performing career spanning seven decades, he appeared in over 88 countries across six continents. He also directed and/or choreographed dozens of dance and physical theatre productions across the world. The Anne Frank Ballet was his most famous ballet, for which he was the only choreographer to be given permission by Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, to stage a ballet based on his daughter’s life, during his life time.


Darius was known as an inspiring teacher who impacted generations of dancers and other performing artists across the world. In 1978, he co-founded and taught at the Mime Centre, continuing to teach and coach subsequently in Finland as well as at master classes across the world. In Britain, he taught, among others, mime artist, dancer and director Kazimir Kolesnik, rock star Kate Bush, Hollywood film star Kate Beckinsale and West End principal Warren Mitchell.

Darius was also a prolific writer, whose work included 19 published books, from theatre textbooks and autobiography to novels and poetry. Since 1994, he lived in Finland, appearing across the world with me, Kazimir Kolesnik, his long-time performing partner. Our final appearance was in Kosovo in October, 2016, after which he retired from the stage. He is survived by his cousin Paul Stark and niece Claudia Krefetz. My wife Katri and I adopted him into our family where he acted as a grandfather to my children Miroslav and Kira.



Adam Darius: born May 10, 1930. Died December3, 2017


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