The Stuttgart Ballet blog

June 26th 1973: John Cranko’s Death


TODAY 47 YEARS AGO John Cranko died on a return flight from the United States. Two days earlier the company had given his version of Swan Lake in Philadelphia and went on board with the prospect of a summer vacation. John Cranko, to whom the Stuttgart Ballet owes everything, should not return to Stuttgart alive. The sudden death of the director and choreographer left a devastated company. But his legacy weighs more than tragic loss.

John Cranko’s spirit on stage: Anna Osadcenko and Jason Reilly in Onegin (Foto: Roman Novitzky)

When he became director in 1961, he built the foundation on which the Stuttgart Ballet still stands today. What he has achieved in just 12 years remains unbelievable even with today’s perspective: he created an ensemble that was worth his name, fought for better working conditions for his dancers, promoted young choreographers, built the ballet school, which bears his name today, and last but not least, created ballets that are danced not only in Stuttgart, but worldwide. Those who were lucky enough to meet this extraordinary person and artist still miss him. Anyone did not know him personally can feel him through his oeuvre – and in the hallways of the Stuttgart Ballet. His spirit is still there.

John Cranko is always in the background; Anna Osadcenko and Jason Reilly in rehearsals (Photo: Carlos Quezada)

Author: stuttgartballet

2 thoughts on “June 26th 1973: John Cranko’s Death

  1. Amazing legacy you’ve honored!

  2. Was there… will never forget the steps up to the airplane with Ingrid Bruy, asking her “any news!” She said “not yet… oh, there’s the man…”(coming down OUT FROM THE PLANE). “Sir, any news of the man they took away?” As he rushed by, “Ah, DOA.” (…and our lives ended.)
    I asked Ingrid, “what’s that mean?” (She had not yet processed it into shock) “Dead on Arrival,” she said… …then, we – the very last to reboard – began to climb the steps. As apprentices, Kennet and I sat at the very back of the plane, so we saw the face of every anguished soul in every single seat… I think the flight from Shannon to Stuttgart was the longest flight of our lives… at the end our “other life.”

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