Léo Staats


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(b Paris, 26 Nov. 1877; d Paris, 20 Feb. 1952)

French dancer, choreographer, ballet master, and teacher. He studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School under Mérante, and made his debut with the company aged 10. In 1893 he joined the company, dancing principal roles, and was appointed premier danseur (1898–1909), partnering Zambelli. He was ballet master between 1908 and 1909 and again between 1919 and 1926, leaving the Opera between 1910 and 1914 to become artistic director of Théâtre des Arts where he choreographed Le Festin de l'araignée (mus. Albert Roussel, 1913). Among his many ballets for the Paris Opera were Cydalise et le chèvre-pied (mus. Pierné, 1923) and Soir de fête (mus. Delibes, arr. H. Busser, 1925). The latter is often regarded as a precursor of Balanchine's plotless ballets. He also revived works by other choreographers, including Sylvia (after Mérante, 1919) and La Péri (after Coralli, 1931), and created numbers for music hall and revue. In 1926 he invented the Defilé du corps de ballet which is still part of company tradition. He opened his own school where he taught until his death.

Subjects: Dance.

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