Marius Petipa

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Petipa, Marius

(märyüs` pĕtēpä`), 1822–1910, French dancer and choreographer, b. Marseilles. Petipa rose to prominence at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg. He was the principal creator of the modern classical ballet. Bringing French and Italian traditions to Russia, he gave increasing importance to pure dance over pantomime and greatly expanded the roles of male dancers. His major works include Don Quixote (1869), La Bayadère (1875), The Sleeping Beauty (1890), The Nutcracker (1892), Swan Lake, Acts One and Three (1893), and Raymonda (1898).


See his memoirs (tr. 1958).

Petipa, Marius Ivanovich


Born Mar. 11, 1818, in Marseilles; died July 1 (14), 1910, in Gurzuf. Russian ballet dancer and choreographer. Of French origin.

Petipa studied with his father, the dancer Jean Antoine Petipa, and with A. Vestris. In 1838 he went on tour in France, the United States, and Spain. In 1847 he settled in Russia, where he lived until his death. Petipa taught at the St. Petersburg Theatrical School from 1855 to 1887. He became choreographer of the St. Petersburg ballet troupe in 1862 and served as its chief choreographer from 1869 to 1903.

Petipa staged more than 60 ballets, including Pugni’s The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862) and Tsar Kandaul (1868) and Min-kus’ Don Quixote (1869) and La Bayadère (1877). The music, while itself not symphonic, served as a basis for Petipa’s creation of symphonic dances (for example, the scene “Kingdom of the Shades” in La Bayadère). This found its ultimate development in Petipa’s staging of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and Glazunov’s Raymonda (1898). As a result of the collaboration between Petipa and the great Russian symphonic composers, 19th-century academic ballet reached its apogee. The humanistic, poetic imagery was enriched by structural forms and expressive means of dance. Petipa’s best ballets are still staged in the USSR and abroad.


Memuary Mariusa Petipa. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Marius Petipa: Materialy, vospominaniia, stat’i. Leningrad. 1971.


Pleshcheev, A. A. M. I. Petipa (1847-1907). St. Petersburg, 1907.
Leshkov, D. I. Marius Petipa (1822-1910): K stoletiiu ego rozhdeniia. Petrograd, 1922.
Slonimskii, Iu. P. I. Chaikovskii i baletnyi teatr ego vremeni. Moscow, 1956.
Krasovskaia, V. Russkii baletnyi teatr vtoroi poloviny XIX veka. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.


References in periodicals archive ?
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23, 2011, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Colorado Ballet's version of Swan Lake will feature choreography after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, with original choreography by three of today's premiere ballet masters, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, former principal dancers with American Ballet Theatre, and Sandra Brown, ballet mistress for Colorado Ballet.