Vestris, Gaetano Apollino Baltazare

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vestris, Gaetano Apollino Baltazare


Born Apr. 18, 1729, in Florence; died Sept. 23, 1808, in Paris. Italian ballet dancer, teacher, and choreographer.

Vestris studied in Paris with the dancer L. Dupré and made his debut in 1748 at the Paris Opéra. He brought many innovations to the dance art of his day, giving movements greater freedom. His contemporaries called him “god of dance.” In 1770 he received the title of maître de ballet at the Paris Opéra (later the Grand-Opéra), where he staged ballets, striving to dramatize the dance scenes and to impart elements of mimed action to the dance. From 1770 to 1776 he was the head teacher at the Paris Opéra. He left the stage in 1782.

His son, Auguste Vestris (1760-1842), was also an outstanding dancer and teacher. Among Auguste’s pupils were J. Perrot, A. Bournonville, and F. Elssler.


Noverre, J. Pis’ma o tantse i baletakh. Leningrad-Moscow, 1965. (Translated from French.)
Val’berkh, I. Iz arkhiva baletmeistera. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Capon, C. Les Vestris. Paris, 1908.
Lifar, S. Auguste Vestris, le dieu de la danse. Paris, 1950.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.