(b St Petersburg, 1793; d Oct. 1870)
Russian dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He studied at the Imperial Theatre School in St Petersburg, a student of Didelot, who was also his guardian, and graduated in 1809; he later studied with Louis Duport. After dancing in St Petersburg for several years, he moved to Moscow where he became chief choreographer of the Bolshoi Theatre, its leading demi-caractère dancer and director of the Bolshoi Ballet School in 1812. He stayed with the Bolshoi until 1839, retiring from performing in 1831. He revived all of Didelot's most important ballets, including Zéphire et Flore, and was the first to choreograph a ballet based on a poem by Pushkin when he staged his Ruslan and Lyudmila in 1821 at the Bolshoi. At the school he set rigorous training standards, thus helping to establish its reputation as a leading institution. He also ensured its survival when, in 1812, he saved the school from potential destruction by evacuating it just days before Napoleon's army invaded Moscow. Author of Memoirs of a Ballet Master, first published in 1856.