A Tapestry of Cultures – Petipa, The Father of Russian Ballet
Today is the 100th anniversary of the passing of Marius Petipa, known as the Father of Russian Ballet. Born March 11, 1818 in France and died in what is now Ukraine (former Russian Empire), July 14, 1910, Petipa is nearly unanimously cited to be the most influential balletmaster and choreographer that has ever lived and is credited, along with Lev Ivanov, as the original choreographer for the traditional holiday ballet we all know and love, The Nutcracker.
Lydia Rubtsova as Marianna, Stanislava Belinskaya as Clara, and Vassily Stukolkin as Fritz, in the original production of The Nutcracker. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, 1892
In recognition of Petipa’s vast contributions to Russian ballet and culture, Moscow Ballet is selecting Russian artists who represent the contemporary sensibilities in Russian visual art to create limited edition paintings. These new works will be inspired by three of Petipa’s artistically acclaimed story ballets: Swan Lake,The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty– all of which Moscow Ballet performs on it’s annual tours of North America. The St. Petersburg Academy of the Arts Foundation(Repin), representing
artists from the famed school of the same name, is assisting Moscow Ballet in the selection of relevant painters. The first two artists to be contracted for this project are: Tatyana Kalin(also Kalyn) and Alexandra Nedzvetskaya.
Marius Petipa is considered one of the greatest choreographers of all time. Petipa elevated the Russian ballet to international fame and laid the cornerstone for 20th Century ballet. His classicism integrated the purity of the
Ekaterina Bortyakova as Masha and Akzhol Mussakorov as Nutcracker Prince with Corps de Ballet in 2009 Tour of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
French school with Italian virtuosity. Noted for his long career as Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres, a position he held from 1871 until 1903, the value of his accomplishments is inestimable.
Petipa produced more than sixty full-evening ballets and innumerable shorter. Petipa’s original ballets, some of which have survived in versions either faithful to, inspired by, or reconstructed from the original, include: The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862); Don Quixote (1869); La Bayadère (1877); The Sleeping Beauty (1890); The Nutcracker (attributed to Lev Ivanov and Petipa ) (1892); and Raymonda (1898). He also revived a substantial number of works created by other Ballet Masters and his productions became the definitive versions from which nearly all subsequent revivals are based — Le Corsaire, Giselle, La Esmeralda, Coppélia, La Fille Mal Gardée (with Lev Ivanov), The Little Humpbacked Horse and Swan Lake (with Lev Ivanov).
Tickets for the 2010North American tour of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker are now available. Click here to find a performance near you. The limited-edition prints are available when purchasing the “Platinum Ticket Package.”