Marius Petipa

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Petipa, Marius

(märyüs` pĕtēpä`), 1818–1910, 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); biography by N. Meisner (2019).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Styled after Marius Petipa, with the original music of Ludwig Minkus, Natalia Makarova's 1980 production of La Bayadere for American Ballet Theatre won a permanent place in the Western repertoire, stated a press release.
It is only thanks to the 1895 production by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that it has become such a part of wider popular culture.
A spectacular version of the classical ballet Esmeralda to be staged in the Slovak National Theatre, in cooperation with the Bolshoi Theatre, has involved more than 200 performers, theatre-makers and backstage workers to mark the 200th anniversary of choreographer Marius Petipa.The ballet/dance section of the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava decided to mark the 200th anniversary of Marius Petipa, considered one of the most influential ballet masters and choreographer in ballet history, in a grand way: on his birthday, March 11, an exhibition on his stagings in SND will open, and one of his staple works premieres on the SND stage, the story of the famous bellringer of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and the girl he fell in love with, beautiful gipsy Esmeralda.
Wright gives us everything, from a precise and elegant choreographic landscape built upon an earlier structure developed by Marius Petipa a century ago, to scenic splendour which, quite literally, takes your breath away with its total magnificence, where no detail is overlooked in Wright's search for perfection, which he achieved with this remarkable production, endowing it with a sense of gravity, where regality blends with imaginative finesse in a dazzling confection.
Petersburg's Ballet Stars 'Dance Open' was cleverly tailored for a varied audience -- both for esthetes who can't imagine ballet without masterpieces by Marius Petipa and for admirers of contemporary ballet who prefer the work of choreographers with innovative ideas.
The recent staging of 'Don Quixote,' based on 19th-century Russian choreographer Marius Petipa's exhibition piece, was, as always, crowd-pleasing.
There's the Marius Petipa version with its tutu-clad corps de ballet and emphasis on the figure of Odette the swan, along with a hefty dose of myth, magic and sorcery.
This production, choreographed by artistic director David Nixen, retains many of the original elements of Marius Petipa's 1892 libretto, in addition to Tchaikovsky's score performed by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
This "newer" 1895 version is in three acts with two intermissions, showcasing Tchaikovsky's immortal music, choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and a libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Getzer.
Nous avons aussi joue [beaucoup moins que] Pakhiats [beaucoup plus grand que], grande œuvre du compositeur Leon Minkus et choregraphiee par Marius Petipa. Il convient de savoir qu'on se produit a travers le monde en vue de devoiler des pans de la culture russe en ressuscitant les grandes œuvres de grands choregraphes russes comme Petipas, Gorsky ou Fokin.
Petersburg Imperial Theatres" Marius Petipa, one of the world's most influential ballet masters and choreographers.