For over 40 years, Gert Reinholm shaped the Berlin dance scene as a ballet director and as a dancer.
Today would have been his 100th birthday! For over 40 years, Gert Reinholm shaped the Berlin dance scene as a ballet director and as a dancer even before the city was divided. During this long era, he built an extensive repertoire of classical and modern works for the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He brought choreographers such as Antony Tudor, Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, and Valeri Panov to the capital and led his company to international fame.
Gert Reinholm, born in Chemnitz in 1923, received his ballet training at the Ballet School of the Berlin State Opera and at the Studio Walter in Paris. He had engagements as a solo dancer at the State Opera Berlin (1942–51), Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1952–53), and the Städtische Oper Berlin (1956–62). From 1961 to 1966, he served as the First Solo Dancer, and from 1962 to 1990, he was the ballet director at the newly built opera house on Bismarckstraße. In addition, Gert Reinholm taught for several years at the State University of Music and Performing Arts Berlin. He had a lifelong artistic partnership with the former chief choreographer of the State Opera Ballet, Tatjana Gsovsky. For over 20 years, Gert Reinholm was not only her influential soloist but also co-directed the Berlin Dance Academy with her.
Gert Reinholm danced many major roles in classical ballets, such as Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet (German premiere of the Prokofiev score), Hamlet, La Dame aux Camélias, Daphnis and Chloé, Prometheus, Othello, and Orphée. He also choreographed works including Romeo and Juliet and Tannhäuser. For his contributions, the «dancing gentleman» (as critic Klaus Geitel called him) was honored with numerous awards, including the Critic's Prize of the City of Berlin (1958), the Berlin Art Prize, the Prize of the Theaters of Nations Paris (1962), and the Diaghilev Prize (1964) – at that time, among the most prestigious awards. In 1987, Gert Reinholm was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, and in the same year, he became a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin.
In his honor, one of the three ballet studios at the Staatsballett Berlin has been named after him. In this way, not a day goes by without remembering him and his wise and life-affirming personality, which could inspire generations of artists for a common cause. Without a doubt, ballet in Berlin would have a different face today without him.