Arthur Saint-Léon

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Saint-Léon, Arthur


(real name Charles Victor Arthur Michel). Born Sept. 17, 1821, in Paris; died there Sept. 2, 1870. French ballet dancer and choreographer, violinist, composer, and librettist.

Saint-Léon studied dance with his father, L. Michel, and with F. Decombe and violin with N. Paganini. He debuted as a dancer in Munich in 1835 and subsequently toured Belgium, Austria, Italy, and England. A virtuoso dancer, Saint-Léon performed at the Paris Opéra in 1847 in Pugni’s La Fille de marbre, which he also choreographed. He staged ballets there periodically until his death. His last and best production was Delibes’ Coppélia, or The Girl With Enamel Eyes (1870). Saint-Léon was a ballet master in Lisbon from 1854 to 1856 and chief ballet master in St. Petersburg from 1859 to 1869; during the latter period he also worked regularly in Moscow.

Saint-Léon was a gifted musician and an authority on Western European and Slavic folklore and many different types of dances. Although he expanded the repertoires for virtuoso dancers, he made them more vulgar in content. Saint-Léon’s best-known ballets were La Vivandière (1848), Le Violon du diable (1849), Météora (1861), and Teolinda (1862), all four ballets with music by Pugni, Paquerette (1851), with music by Benoist, The Little Humpbacked Horse (1864), with music by Pugni, and La Source (1866), with music by Delibes.


La Sténochorégraphie, ou l’art d’écrire promplement la dance…. Paris, 1852.


Slonimskii, Iu. Mastera baleta. Leningrad, 1937.
Krasovskaia, V. Russkii baletnyi teatr vtoroipoloviny XIX v. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.
Guest, I. The Ballet of the Second Empire. London, 1953–55.


References in periodicals archive ?
Coppelia' was first presented in Paris in 1870, with music by Leo Delibes and choreography by Arthur Saint-Leon.
These historiographic wobbles are accompanied by psychoanalytic ones: we hear that the fetish fails within the fantastic, because it "provokes uncanniness" (117), but then that Arthur Saint-Leon, Charles Nuitter and Leo Delibes's Coppelia has to do with women as "sexual objects to fetishize and as uncanny objects to fear" (141), as if the fetish doesn't actually fail.
Staged by Petrus Bosman in 1978, the Arthur Saint-Leon classic was the first full-length ballet for the company.
First up tonight is European Ballet's latest production of the classic Coppelia, a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Leon.
It is a simple story but one given plenty of energy by 19th-century choreographer Arthur Saint-Leon, a man killed in the Franco-Prussian War just a few weeks after the first performance of the ballet, along with his 16-year-old daughter, Swanilda.
Paris y Milan habian sido hasta entonces las capitales del ballet; pero en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, dicho centro se desplazo a San Petersburgo, donde Jules Perrot (el hombre mas famoso del ballet romantico) inauguro, junto con Arthur Saint-Leon y Lucien Petipa, la verdadera tradicion del ballet ruso.
The Coppelia we know best is not the 1870 Arthur Saint-Leon choreography (although the Paris Opera maintained something approximating it until the late 1940s), but stagings often based on Petipa's St.