Charles Louis Didelot

Didelot, Charles Louis


Born 1767 in Stockholm; died Nov. 7 (19), 1837, in Kiev. French choreographer, ballet dancer, and teacher.

Didelot was one of the most prominent dancers and choreographers of the late 18th century and early 19th century. The son of a danseur in the Swedish Royal Ballet, he studied in Paris under J. Lany and worked as a dancer under J. Dauberval and J. G. Noverre. Didelot danced and staged ballets in theaters in London and Paris. In 1801 he was invited as a dancer and choreographer to St. Petersburg, where he worked until 1831 (with a break from 1811 to 1816) staging more than 40 ballets. The plots of his ballets were extremely diverse and included Anacreontic (Cavos’ Flore et Zéphyre and Cupidon et Psyché, 1804 and 1809), tragic (for example, Antonolini’s Teseo e Arianna, o la disfatta del Minotauro, 1817, and Cavos’ Fedra, 1825), historical-romantic (Venua’s La Chaumiere hongroise, ou le déserteur malgré lui, 1817), and comic ballets (Turique’s Karl et Lisbeth, 1820). Didelot sought to deepen the dramatic content of ballet and to heighten the emotional and psychological expressiveness of the characters. In 1823 he adapted Pushkin’s Prisoner of the Caucasus (previously an opera and play) to the ballet stage. He became director of the St. Petersburg Theatrical School in 1804 (his students included M. I. Danilova and A. I. Istomina).


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