Vincenzo Galeotti


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(orig. Vincenzo Tomazelli or Tomasselli; b Florence, 5 Mar. 1733; d Copenhagen, 16 Dec. 1816)

Italian-Danish dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet master. Generally considered to be the father of Danish ballet. After studying in Italy with Gaspero Angiolini, he danced with many European companies before settling in Venice, where between 1765 and 1769 he choreographed opera ballets and divertissements. After time spent dancing at London's King's Theatre (1769–71), where he staged several works including Gluck's Orfeo, he returned to Venice as ballet master of the San Moise Theatre (1771–5). From there he was invited to Copenhagen in 1775 as ballet master, solo dancer, and teacher at the Royal Theatre. He spent the remainder of his life there, laying the foundations of the Royal Danish Ballet. He continued to dance until the age of 77 and made his last appearance on stage as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet. He was responsible for creating a repertoire of more than 30 ballets for Copenhagen. A list of his works includes Dido Abandoned (1777), Don Juan (1781), Semiramis (1787), Telemachus on the Isle of Calypso (1792), Annette and Lubin (1797), Lagertha (mus. Claus Schall, 1801, the first ballet dealing with a Nordic theme), Inez de Castro (1804), Romeo and Juliet (1811), and Macbeth (1816). His most popular work was a comedy, The Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master (mus. Jens Lolle, 1786), which is the world's oldest surviving ballet, still performed in Denmark.

Subjects: Dance.

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