This is a duplicate of my post under the Forum's 'Dance Miscellany' topic. I'm posting here as well to make sure that the news reaches as many interested persons as possible.
After a day of hearing rumors and seeing Facebook posts mourning his death, American Ballet Theatre has just posted notification of the passing of Johan Renvall. So it appears to be true. I don't know the details - but they don't matter. Renvall was a principal dancer with ABT, and far too young to leave earth's stage.
People who attended ABT performances in the 1980s and 90s as I did remember Renvall well. Most knew him from his role as the Bronze Idol in the premiere of Natalia Makarova's production of La Bayadere at the Met in 1980, when, to my recollection, he brought down the house. His performance remains one of the best Bronze Idols ABT has had.
But I remember him from an even earlier performance than that. The first time I saw him was at what to my recollection was the first New York performance of Mikhail Baryshnikov's Don Quixote. Despite the star-studded (and dancer-studded) stage, this one young male dancer who I didn't recall seeing before lit up the stage as one of the village children -- I think in the Tavern scene, but possibly in the earlier village plaza scene as well. I didn't know then who he was at the time, but this new member of the company (at least new to me) stole the scene, soaring higher and moving faster than anyone else on stage - and once again proving the adage that there are no small roles.
Renvall danced many leading roles with ABT since then, which I'm sure others will recall with equal passion, but those two -- the village boy and the Bronze Idol -- are the ones I'll remember most.
To Johan Renvall, a fond reverence. Condolences to his family and current colleagues, to his ABT family, and to his many friends - including those who watched his performances over the years, and will remember them always with a smile.
-- Jerry Hochman