(real surname, Bercher). Born Aug. 19, 1742, in Montpellier; died Feb. 14, 1806, in Tours. French ballet dancer and choreographer.
A student of J. G. Noverre, Dauberval made his debut in 1761 at the Paris Opera. In 1770 he became its principal dancer and in 1773, its ballet master. From 1785 to 1791 he worked in Bordeaux (with short interruptions). An innovator, Dauberval continued the teachings of Noverre and developed the principles of expressive ballet d’action, subjecting all the resources of dance to a single idea. The common people became the heroes for the first time in his ballets. He made extensive use of folk dances in his stagings. Dauberval’s creative work embodied the democratic trends of the art of the period of the French Revolution. His ballets were very popular. Among the ballets he staged was La Fille mal gardée, to music by various composers (1789), which is still retained in the repertoire of ballet companies. The outstanding dancers and choreographers C. Blasis, S. Vigano, and C. Didelot were students of Dauberval.