Johan Renvall, a principal dancer at American Ballet Theater whose range there from 1978 to 1996 could stun audiences with spectacular classical technique and – in dramatic ballets – powerful intensity.
He was 55 and lived in Manhattan. Mr. Renvall left a lasting imprint at Ballet Theater as the original Bronze Idol in Natalia Makarova’s 1980 version of “La Bayadère.”
As a temple statue come to life and near-naked in gold body paint, he erupted into sensational airborne bravura with perfect form.
Yet as critics across the country noted, Mr. Renvall’s gifts went far beyond pyrotechnics.
Antony Tudor, Ballet Theater’s master of psychological ballet, cast him in his dance-dramas, in which he portrayed a murderer in “Undertow,” a youth in search of Zenlike enlightenment in “Shadowplay,” a young lover in “Dim Lustre” and, in a memorably deep performance, a grieving mourner in “Dark Elegies.”
As always, this depth came from the projection of his movement, not through conventional acting.
When he appeared in leading roles in 19th-century classics like “La Sylphide” and “Coppélia,” he was praised for the warmth of his characterization as well as for his virtuosity.