Erik Bruhn (October 3, 1928-April 1, 1986) was a Danish ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, and writer.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he began training with the Royal Danish Ballet at the age of nine. He later joined the company at the age of eighteen and was promoted to soloist two years later.
He was best known for his roles in La Syphide, Giselle, and Swan Lake, in which he combined subtle precision with a flair dance style.
He appeared in the 1952 movie Hans Christian Andersen.
He authored the book Beyond Technique (ISBN 0384060862) with Fred Fehl.
Erik Bruhn met Rudolf Nureyev, the celebrated Russian dancer, who was on a tour in Denmark. Bruhn became Nureyev's lover, his closest friend, and his protector (mainly from his own folly) for many years. The relationship was a stormy one, for Nureyev was highly sexually promiscuous, but in its own way it was a very strong one.
He was director of the Swedish Opera Ballet from 1967 to 1973 and the National Ballet of Canada from 1983 to 1986.
His death in 1986 was attributed to lung cancer.