Born in Marseille, Béjart studied at the Marseilles Opera Ballet School, with teachers in Paris and London. He performed at Mona Inglesby's International Ballet in London, the Cullbert Ballet, and the Royal Swedish Ballet. He created his own company, Ballet of the 20th Century, and was based in Brussels from 1960 to 1987. Prior to this, in the 1940s, Béjart freelanced in choreography. In 1987 he moved to Lausanne in Switzerland, where he founded the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, one of the most famous and successful dance companies in the world.
Béjart's ballet creations were eclectic with avant-garde music, perhaps of significance in this was a meeting with Stravinsky ealr on in his career. He was considered innovative and daring during the 1960s and 1970s. Béjart was especially popular in France, but he toured internationally to destinations including Iran and Asia. His ballet "Rite of Spring" won him an invitation to become the resident company at the Brussels's Royal Opera Theater in 1960.