Jean-Louis Aumer


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(b Strasbourg, 21 Apr. 1774 (some sources say 1776); d St-Martin-en-Bosc, Jul. 1833)

French dancer and choreographer. He studied with Dauberval in Bordeaux and danced with his company in London (1791–2). In London he also danced with Noverre's company (1794) and at the King's Theatre (1795), going on to make his debut with the Paris Opera in 1798. He was then ballet master at the Paris Théâtre de la Porte St-Martin (1804–6) where he mounted several Dauberval works, including La Fille mal gardée, and also choreographed his own ballets, including the highly successful Les Deux Créoles (mus. Darondeau, 1806), based on the novel Paul et Virginie. His work closely followed Dauberval's principles of ballet d'action, telling dramatic stories through expressive mime. In 1807 he became ballet master at Lyons then in 1808 was invited to create a work for the Paris Opera. Les Amours d'Antoine et de Cléopâtre (mus. R. Kreutzer) was highly successful and so impressed Jérome Napoleon, King of Westphalia, that he was engaged in 1809 as ballet master of the Kassel court theatre. In 1814 he moved to Lyons and then to Vienna where he choreographed numerous ballets and divertissements. In 1820 he returned to Paris as ballet master, amidst high expectations. But although he staged revivals of two Dauberval ballets and created many new works, including La Belle au bois dormant (mus. Hérold, 1829) and Manon Lescaut (mus. Halévy, 1830), he was not popular. His works were widely criticized for their excessive use of mime and their inability to create dance that furthered either character or plot. He retired in 1831.

Subjects: Dance.

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