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Karoly Zsedenyi, 91, Ballet Master

Karoly Zsedenyi, star dancer and ballet master of the Royal Opera of Budapest, died on Feb. 2, 2002, at the age of 91.

The cause was a heart attack.

Zsedenyi trained as a classical ballet dancer in Paris in the early 1930s, danced many Diaghilev-era roles in Hungary and on tour throughout Europe between 1933 and 1944.

The first ballet defector from the Soviet bloc, Zsedenyi escaped to Belgium in 1948 where he became ballet master and choreographer of the Royal Opera Houses of Antwerp and Brussels.

In 1951 he moved to Santiago, Chile, where he taught and established the Ballet Experimental and Ballet School.

He settled in New York in 1963 where he taught ballet for 39 years and presented his choreography for the Zsedenyi Ballet. On Oct. 23, 1966, he staged his original choreography, "The Peasant Wedding" to music by Zoltan Codoly at Carnegie Hall in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

Zsedenyi taught his last studio classes in July 2001 and continued to teach his students at home until the time of his death.

A memorial service will be held for Zsedenyi from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm on Sat., March 9, at the Fourth Universalist Society, 160 Central Park West at 76th Street.

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