Heino Byrgesen, 1942-2014

Last week an exceptional member of the DIS community, Heino Byrgesen, passed away.

Heino taught at DIS for 45 years, specifically for the History of European Ballet course, making him a faculty member who taught for the longest period of time ever at DIS.

To celebrate Heino’s life, DIS staff, faculty, and alumni remember him as a colleague, teacher, and a friend:

From Janis Granger, who worked with Heino:

“Heino started teaching at DIS in 1972 at the age of 30, a year after he completed his mag. art at the University of Copenhagen in Theater Studies. For many years he was on Denmark’s Radio (DR) programs such as Dramatisk Forum and Theaterkronikken. He was also Production Director for Radioteater and Director for Radio Drama until his retirement from DR in 2010.

Theater was his livelihood and ballet was his passion. He taught ‘The History of European Ballet‘ for 42 years at DIS. Thousands of DIS students have attended performances of the Danish Royal Ballet as a part of Heino’s course. For some of his students, his class was their first introduction to theater – the first time many of them had ever attended a ballet performance. He would often surprise his students by inviting the solo dancers that they had just seen on stage to address the class. Two of his most famous surprise guests were Alvin Ailey and Rudolf Nureyev. Just last spring, he was thrilled to be invited to dinner by one of his current students to re-unite with her father, whom Heino had taught back in the 1970’s.

Heino was a cultivated, intelligent and above all, a lovely and loving man. He will be sorely missed.”

From Ian Terkildsen, Assistant Director of Study Tours at DIS:

“Forty-two years ago, in the spring of 1972, when Heino taught his first semester at DIS, he had a young student in his class from Montclair State University named Evie Katz. It turns out Evie was not a very good student that semester, as she spent most of her time together with a local student from Lyngby named Benny Terkildsen. In 1977 the two became my parents. Heino and I became fast friends after realizing our common history, and Heino always got a kick out of telling this story to others. It was such a pleasure knowing him and I will miss him dearly.”

A DIS Alumni:

“Heino was the God of professors. He truly made the class the amazing class that it was. He had a heart for ballet and shared his passion with his students with such love and enthusiasm that it made me look forward to every class. I enjoyed every moment with Heino and wish all of my teachers taught the way he did.”

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