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  Fernando Bujones Dies at Age 50

Fernando Bujones, Artistic Director of Orlando Ballet, died in Miami early this morning after a very brief and unexpected battle with a malignant melanoma. Bujones, one of the finest male dancers of the 20th Century, leaves behind a legacy of international accomplishment in performance, choreography and teaching in addition to a world-class ballet company.

Born in Miami of Cuban parents, Bujones enjoyed an extraordinary performing career. With a meteoric rise, first as a gifted dance student at the world-famous School of American Ballet in New York City, then as Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theater, becoming the first American dancer to win the prestigious Gold Medal at the Varna International Ballet Competitions, and lastly as Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet, Bujones became a living legend in dance. His success and artistic achievements span over almost three decades and his charismatic presence and incredible technical prowess captivated audiences all over the world.

One of the 20th century's stellar dancers - critic Clive Barnes has called him "the finest male dancer this country has produced" and hailed his technique as "possibly unmatched anywhere" - Bujones has been compared with Rudolf Nureyev. Affectionately known as "The Latin Lightning," Fernando Bujones personifies the best of two worlds - his ardent nature, a legacy of his Cuban heritage, fires his creative energy, and what he terms his "Anglo-Saxon" abilities endow him with focus and discipline.