Pierre Gardel


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(b Nancy, 4 Feb. 1758; d Paris, 18 Oct. 1840)

French dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet master. He was taught by his elder brother, Maximilien, at the Paris Opera School from 1771 and became premier danseur noble of the Paris Opera in 1780. In 1780–1 he was a leading dancer with Noverre's company at the King's Theatre in London. In 1787 he succeeded his brother as chief ballet master of the Paris Opera. A prolific choreographer, he often shocked audiences with his choice of subject-matter, which included biblical stories, but won wide popularity with the vivid spectacle of his productions. Unlike his contemporaries, he often chose to commission original music for his ballets. He retired in 1829. A list of his works includes Télémaque (mus. Müller, 1790), Psyché (mus. Müller, 1790), Le Jugement de Pâris (1793), La Dansomanie (mus. Méhul, 1800), Achille à Scyros (mus. Cherubini, 1804), Paul et Virginie (mus. Kreutzer, 1806), La Fête de Mars (mus. Kreutzer, 1809), Persée et Andromède (mus. Méhul, 1810), Proserpine (mus. Schneitzhoeffer, 1818), and La Servante justifiée (mus. Kreutzer, 1818). He also composed the dances for Mozart's Don Giovanni at its Paris Opera debut in 1805. From 1799 to 1815 he was director of the Paris Opera Ballet School, where one of his pupils was Blasis. He was married to the ballerina Marie Gardel, who performed in his ballets.

Subjects: Dance.

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