French-born François Klaus began his ballet studies with Russian teacher Julie Sedova, then Marika Besobrasova. He joined Stuttgart Ballet under John Cranko. Appointed soloist by Cranko in Munich, he danced his first leading role as Siegfried in Cranko’s Swan Lake and was promoted to principal dancer.
Moving to Hamburg, François was 18 years Principal Male Dancer of Hamburg Ballet under the direction of John Neumeier. He created the male leads for a large part of Hamburg Ballet’s current repertoire. François toured extensively with the company through Europe, North and South America and Japan, and in 1981 his performance in Neumeier’s Mahler III was selected Most Outstanding Performance of the Year by an established artist, by American Dancemagazine.
In 1991, François was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of Bern State Ballet in Switzerland, where in 1994 he subsequently established his own company, Ballet Art. His work was recognised in Switzerland by the Doron Cultural Prize in 1996.
Mid-1997 Francois began his tenure as Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer for Queensland Ballet, which he continued until December 2012. He created more than 100 ballets for the Company, including the immensely popular Brisbane-based story Cloudland. Recognition included nomination for a Helpmann Award in 2002, Centenary Medal for distinguished service to the arts in 2001, and an honorary doctorate with Griffith University in 2012. François became an Australian citizen in 2001.
Under François’ Artistic Direction and Judith Anderson as General Manager, Queensland Ballet undertook three tours to Europe (2006, 2007 and 2009), to great public and critical acclaim for the original Australian works presented.
Many of these creations were the result of collaboration with Australian musicians, who toured and performed in Europe with the company: indigenous composer and didgeridoo player William Barton (Timeless Dances), Taiko drummers Kerryn Joyce and Kevin Mann (Awakening) and Sean O’Boyle and Blackwood ensemble (Cloudland.)
Queensland Ballet also toured to Singapore in March 2007, Japan in 2008 and China in 2011 with François’ popular choreographies for young audiences, Alice in Wonderland (Singapore) and The Little Mermaid (Japan and China).
Since 2013 François works as guest choreographer and with his wife Robyn as international guest teachers. Professional engagements have included Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Singapore Dance Theatre, Vienna State Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Leipzig Ballet, Hannover Ballet as well as Hamburg Ballet School and L’Academie de la Princess Grace de Monaco.