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Created by Jessica Metzger

Important People

Many people from Europe and America utilized their creative genius to improve and perfect the art of ballet. Below are profiles of just a handful of these brilliant choreographers and dancers and their contributions to the art.

Pierre Beauchamp| Marius Petipa | George Balanchine | Margot Fonteyn | Mikhail Baryshnikov

Pierre Beauchamp

Lifteime: 1636–1705

Influence on ballet: Created the five feet positions of ballet

Ballet Company: director of the Académie Royale de Danse (France, 1661), became Maître de Ballet at the Academie (1671), gave dance lessons to Louis XIV for over twenty-two years

Famous ballets choreographed: the ballroom duet Rigaudons de mr bauchand, and the theatrical solo for a man Sarabande de Mr. de Beauchamp.

Cited: Britannica Student Encyclopedia Online |

Marius Petipa

Lifteime: 1819-1910

Influence on ballet: Called the "father of classical ballet"(ABT), produced more than sixty full-evening ballets and innumerable shorter works and he is considered to have laid the foundation for the entire school of Russian ballet.

Ballet Company: St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre in Russia (1847-1903), Choreographer-in-Chief of Imperial Theatre (1862), Premier Ballet Master of the Imperial Theatre (1869)

Famous ballets choreographed: Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake

Cited: ABT | BalletNotes

George Balanchine

Lifteime: 1904-1983

Influence on ballet: Created over 400 works, brought American ballet to rival Europe's schools

Ballet Company: American Ballet Academy (founded 1934), New York City Ballet (founded 1948)

Famous ballets choreographed: Serenade (1934), Symphony in C (1947), The Nutcracker (1954), Stars and Stripes (1958), Vienna Waltzes (1977)

Cited: | The George Balanchine Foundation

Margot Fonteyn

Lifteime: 1919-1991

Influence on ballet: Dominated British ballet for over 40 years, Considered one of the greatest dancers of our time

Ballet Company: Vic-Wells Ballet,later the Sadler's Wells Ballet then the Royal Ballet (1934-1970s)

Famous ballet roles danced: Aurora, Giselle, and Odette/Odile

Cited: | National Museum of the Performing Arts UK

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Lifteime: 1948-now

Influence on ballet: supreme dancer, choreographer and actor

Ballet Company: American Ballet Theatre; principal dancer (1979-1980), artistic director (1980-1990)

Major accomplishements: Oscar-nomination for performance in The Turning Point; In 1989, he appeared on Broadway in Metamorphosis, earning a Tony nomination and a Drama Critics Award;currently devoting time to the Baryshnikov Arts Center; recent awards: the Kennedy Center Honors, The National Medal of Arts the Commonwealth Award, The Chubb Fellowship, and the Jerome Robbins Award.

Cited: Baryshnikov Arts Center | ABT

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